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Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Date: April 8, 2014
DOVER, DE (April 9, 2014) -- Seven in 10 deaths in the United States are related to preventable diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer, according to the American Public Health Association (APHA). Prevent disease by not smoking, making healthy food and beverage choices, being physically active, staying current with vaccinations, and practicing safe behaviors and good hygiene. Preventing disease keeps people healthy and costs significantly less than treating disease. National Public Health Week is April 7-13, 2014 (www.nphw.org).
More than half of all cancer deaths may be prevented by making healthier choices such as not smoking, staying at a healthy weight, eating right, keeping active and getting recommended screening tests. Avoid high-fat diets, which can increase the risk of developing colorectal, uterine and prostate cancers. Limit alcoholic drinks, since chronic, heavy alcohol use increases the risk of developing breast, oral, liver and esophageal cancers. Know your family history and your risks. A list of recommended health screenings is available on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force website at www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/recommendations.htm.
"Smoking and inhaling secondhand smoke puts our bodies at great risk of developing cancer and heart disease," said Dr. Karyl T. Rattay, director of the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH). "One of the healthiest choices we can make is to never smoke or to quit smoking." It is especially important for pre-teens and teens not to begin smoking, as they are more likely to develop a severe addiction to nicotine.
According to The Health Consequences of Smoking-50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General, 2014, smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, killing at least 443,000 people each year. (See www.surgeongeneral.gov/.)
The report states that smoking is causally linked to these cancers: cancers of the mouth, throat, trachea, bronchus, lung, stomach, liver, kidney and ureter, pancreas, bladder and colorectal tract. Smoking is also causally linked to acute myeloid leukemia, diabetes, stroke, coronary heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, age-related macular degeneration, ectopic pregnancy, and more.
The Delaware Quitline (1-866-409-1858) offers Delaware residents age 18 and older motivational support and for eligible low-income callers, vouchers to purchase stop-smoking aids such as nicotine patches or gum. DPH's Screening for Life program offers these services to eligible Delawareans: Pap tests, clinical breast exams, mammograms, prostate tests and colorectal tests. For more information about cancer and all Delaware services, visit dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/dpc/cancer.html or call 302-744-1020. The Delaware Cancer Consortium's website is www.delawarecancerconsortium.org/
Eating healthfully and getting regular physical activity also helps prevent heart disease and stroke. Visit the Million Hearts Delaware website (www.millionheartsde.com) to learn about managing weight and cholesterol, limiting sodium and trans fat, controlling blood pressure, and avoiding or reducing tobacco use.
For more information about preventing or controlling diabetes and heart disease, visit DPH's Diabetes and Heart Disease Prevention and Control Program at dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/dpc/diabetes.html or call 302-744-1020. The Delaware Diabetes Coalition's website is http://dediabetescoalition.org/
Getting all recommended immunizations is extremely important at all ages. Teens and young adults should get vaccinated against meningitis, pertussis and the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which can lead to cancer of the womb (cervical cancer). Adults especially need continued protection against pneumococcal disease, tetanus, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis A, and chickenpox. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older. For more information, visit the Delaware Immunizations Program website: dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/dpc/immunize.html or call 1-800-282-8672.
Practicing healthy sexual behaviors helps prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). New STD and HIV infections continue to occur, reminding Delawareans of the need for safe behaviors and to seek medical attention immediately if symptoms occur. For prevention and treatment information, visit dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/dpc/stds.html or call DPH's STD Program at 302-744-1050.
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.
The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and communities. For nearly 20 years, APHA has served as the organizer of NPHW. Learn more at www.apha.org.
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.