What can you do to make this area healthier?

Editor's note: As part of National Public Health Week, April 1-7, Douglas County Public Health provided the following information to help residents understand its role in the community.

Editor's note: As part of National Public Health Week, April 1-7, Douglas County Public Health provided the following information to help residents understand its role in the community.

It's impossible to disconnect our individual health from our community's health. When it comes to good health, a rising tide lifts all boats.

Public health systems work to carefully monitor that tide, pinpointing choppy waters and struggling vessels and taking action to ensure that all boats have an opportunity to sail smoothly to healthier destinations.

Resilient, well-supported public health systems are critical to our nation's health and future. They maintain the health victories we've accomplished so far, such as dramatic reductions in tobacco use, and are essential to confronting today's big problems, such as rising chronic disease rates.

We also need public health to monitor and protect us from emerging health threats, keep vaccine-preventable diseases at bay, provide life-saving services for vulnerable populations and so much more.


Just as important, we need public health's unique ability to rally communities around the many social determinants that shape people's health. The future of health is empowering communities with the tools, knowledge, resources and opportunities to make lasting change.


  • Despite high immunization rates in the U.S., about 42,000 adults and 300 children die every year from vaccine-preventable diseases. Every dollar spent on childhood immunizations alone saves $18.40.
  • If 10 percent of adults began regularly walking, $5.6 billion in heart disease costs could be averted. Also, a sustained 10 percent weight loss could reduce an overweight person's lifetime medical costs by up to $5,300 by lowering the costs linked to hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and high cholesterol.
  • If every state without a comprehensive smoke-free policy adopted one, they could reduce smoking-related deaths by 624,000. They would also save more than $316 million in lung cancer treatment and more than $875 million in heart attack and stroke treatment over five years.


  • Stay up-to-date on recommended vaccinations for yourself and your loved ones.
  • Look up the national Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans to see how much physical activity you should get on a daily basis and encourage family and friends to do the same. To learn more, visit
  • Support local farmers markets and other access points to fresh fruits and vegetables. It's not only good for your health; it's good for the local economy too.
  • Be sure to have a family emergency preparedness plan and review it regularly. Be ready.
  • Support your city and county parks and recreational facilities that offer safe places to be outside and physically active.


  • Encourage local restaurants to provide nutrition information on their menus.
  • Voice your support for smoke-free policies.
  • Get involved with local efforts to initiate violence intervention and prevention efforts.
  • Create a local health movement. Start a healthy food co-op, gather a walking group or form a club dedicated to volunteering.
Related Topics: HEALTH
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