Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Emily Knearl, DPH Communications Director
302-255-9047, Cell 302-382-6267
Date: April 4, 2016
DOVER, DE (April 1, 2016) - U.S. citizens spend more on health care but live shorter lives and suffer more health issues than our peers in other high-income countries. That's why the Division of Public Health (DPH) is joining health agencies nationwide in celebrating National Public Health Week (April 4-10, 2016). During this special week, DPH is encouraging Delawareans to adopt healthier lifestyles, conditions, and policies in order to help the U.S. become the "healthiest nation" by 2030.
While this may seem like an overwhelming goal, every person can play a role toward making it a reality by pledging to take three steps: making healthy choices to improve our individual health, setting an example for our family and friends, and supporting collective efforts to improve the social and environmental factors that affect everyone's health and limit the ability for many people to make healthy choices.
"You can be a part of great global change by taking individual steps each day to improve your health," said DPH Associate Deputy Director Paul Silverman. "By making a choice to quit smoking, become more physically active, consume more fruits and vegetables or manage stress in a healthy way, you can contribute to a national health movement right here at home."
DPH joins the American Public Health Association (APHA) in focusing on the following areas during National Public Health Week:
Build a nation of safe, healthy communities - Good health is more than simply a visit to the doctor. Only about 10 percent of a person's health status is impacted by traditional medical care. Health is also directly impacted by where people live, work, play, and pray. To empower communities to address these larger environmental issues, DPH and members of the University of Delaware's School of Public Policy & Administration released the Health Equity Guide for Public Health Practitioners and Partners in January 2016. The guide calls for a "health in all policies" approach for designing communities, which means that housing, parks, and walking and biking are accessible and well-planned and that neighborhoods are protected from health and safety hazards. To learn more, visit http://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/pressreleases/2016/healhtequity-012716.html.
At home, hazards such as lead paint, mold, carbon monoxide, and radon can be eliminated with the advice from DPH's Healthy Homes Program (http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/hsp/healthyhomes.html).
Since obesity and sedentary lifestyles are linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers, DPH supports the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: Eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages. One way to be more active and help mankind is to sign up for "Motivate the First State," where participants log their activities to donate to three Delaware charities: the YMCA of Delaware, Special Olympics Delaware, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware. Sign up at http://www.motivatethefirststate.com/.
Not smoking, or quitting smoking, is one of the best actions to improve one's health. Call the Delaware Quitline, a toll-free tobacco and e-cigarette cessation hotline operated by DPH, at 866-409-1858 or visit: http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/dpc/quitline.html.
Addressing the relationship between increased economic mobility, better health, and social justice - Closely linked to building safe, healthy communities is remembering that poverty, homelessness, crime, hunger, discrimination, unintended pregnancy, and level of education can be linked to a risk of elevated rates of disease, disability, injury, and premature death. Since such factors extend far beyond traditional public health efforts, DPH hopes the Health Equity Guide will catalyze strong partnerships between public health, health care, businesses, schools, religious organizations, and lawmakers. The document shares evidence-based and promising strategies and provides numerous references and web links for additional information.
Everyone deserves the opportunity for a long and healthy life. When upstream conditions such as these are addressed, downstream health issues improve. To read DPH's new Health Equity Guide, visit http://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/mh/healthequityguide.html
Provide quality health care for everyone - Broadening access to quality care for all residents, regardless of gender, income level, pre-existing conditions, or other barriers, prevents health problems and identifies issues earlier. Delaware is transforming its treatment-based health system into one that prioritizes the prevention of diseases, illnesses, injuries, disabilities, and premature deaths. For instance, keeping vaccinations up to date prevents disease, while cancer screenings can detect cancers early for the best outcomes. Create a personalized to-do list of cancer screenings at https://www.healthydelaware.org/. Delawareans addicted to illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and alcohol can find prevention, treatment, and recovery services at the Help Is Here website: http://www.helpisherede.com/.
Help all young people graduate from high school - APHA calls education the leading indicator of good health because it allows people to achieve better jobs and incomes. Policies should champion school success, beginning with pre-Kindergarten preparation and continuing to on-time high school graduation. Public Health nurses play a role by visiting the state's at-risk families to improve birth outcomes, prevent child abuse, improve school attendance and performance, and improve overall health. To learn more, visit Delaware Thrives at http://dethrives.com/home-visiting/help-at-home.
Everyone can contribute to students' success by serving as a strong parental role model and mentor. To volunteer to mentor a student, visit Connecting Generations at http://www.connecting-generations.org/creative-mentoring/.
Give everyone a choice of healthy food - Delawareans without cars suffer when their neighborhoods have no healthy and affordable food within walking distance. More than 16 percent of Delaware's population participated in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in 2014, a rate higher than Maryland's entire Eastern Shore and southern New Jersey, and on par with Washington, DC, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's online Economic Research Service Atlas. The availability of farmers' markets, community gardens, food trucks, food banks, and food pantries improves food access. For a list of farmers' markets and farm stands, visit de.gov/buylocal.
Prepare for the health effects of climate change - Climate change is expected to cause more extreme weather events, including heat waves, flooding, hurricanes, and heavy snowfalls. According to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, increased ground-level ozone and particulate matter will cause U.S. residents with respiratory sensitivity to have more asthma attacks and cases, and weakened lung function. Scientists expect an increase in disease outbreaks caused by mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas. Low-income and minority communities often experience higher rates of asthma, diabetes, and other chronic diseases that place them at higher risk of complications from extreme weather, especially extreme heat.
Learn how to protect yourself from the Zika virus at http://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/zika.html and mosquito-borne illnesses at http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/epi/epi.html and how to manage chronic diseases through our Health Promotion and Disease Prevention program, http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/dpc/dpcsection.html.
Strengthen public health infrastructure and capacity - APHA encourages 'strong and consistent' public health funding levels to respond to emerging health threats, such as the Zika and Ebola virus outbreaks, and unexpected health emergencies, such as contaminated floodwaters. DPH relies on funding from federal agencies to step up its response to significant health emergencies.
For more information about National Public Health Week, visit http://www.nphw.org/.
A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person's spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit delawarerelay.com.
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.