04 Apr 2017

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Becoming the Healthiest Nation

Join us in celebrating National Public Health Week 2017 and become part of a growing movement to create the healthiest nation in one generation. We’re celebrating the power of prevention, advocating for healthy and fair policies, sharing strategies for successful partnerships and championing the role of a strong public health system. Changing our health means ensuring conditions that give everyone the opportunity to be healthy.

Health must be a priority in designing our communities, from healthy housing to parks and playgrounds. Walking and biking must coexist with cars and public transportation. We need lower levels of violence and crime so everyone can safely live, work, learn and play. Support farmers markets and local businesses that value health, such as retailers that don’t sell tobacco.

Our food system should provide affordable food with nutritious ingredients, free from harmful contaminants. For many families, eating healthy is a daily challenge. Call for policies that help eliminate food deserts and bring healthy food to all neighborhoods and schools. Support measures like menu labeling that help people make healthier choices. Start a community garden.

Education is the leading indicator of good health, giving people access to better jobs, incomes and neighborhoods. Call for policies that start with early school success and lead to higher on-time high school graduation rates. Be a champion for school-based health centers in your local schools. Become a mentor — you can make a difference!

The science is clear: Poverty and poor health go hand-in-hand. It’s time to fix our country’s growing income inequality and the unhealthy stresses it puts on adults and children. Support policies that ensure a living wage and remove barriers that make it harder to advance to higher incomes.

Everyone has the right to good health. We must remove barriers so everyone has the same opportunity to improve their lives and their health. Speak out against racism and an unequal criminal justice system. Demand a fair allocation of community resources. Fight against the trend of growing voter restrictions. Everyone needs a voice in improving our communities.

Support policies that protect the air we breathe, both indoors and outdoors, and the clean water we drink. Policies that protect our health from natural and man made weather events and disasters are just as important. Support efforts that help communities prepare for and adapt to the health impacts of climate change.

Health reform was just a start. To fulfill its potential, we must continue to pursue options for expanded access to quality care at the federal, state and local levels. But we also need to shift the main focus of our health system from one that treats illness to one that equally emphasizes prevention.

Strong, consistent funding levels are necessary for the public health system to respond to everyday health threats and unexpected health emergencies. Support higher budgets for key public health agencies like CDC and HRSA. The agencies strengthen the public health workforce and are a major source of funding for state and local health departments and programs.

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