April 6-12 is National Public Health Week, a week where we focus on healthy, active lifestyles. Among developed countries, the U.S. has a lower life expectancy for all ages and income levels. The U.S. spends nearly twice as much as other countries on health care expenses, and we should be leaders in all measures of health. National Public Health Week raises awareness and helps educate people to make healthy choices in their lives, with the goal to be the healthiest nation by 2030.
There have been some notable successes over the years:
- Increase in the vaccination rate from 64% to 67.1%
- Decrease in rate of smoking among the adult population from 19.6% to 19%
- Increase in life expectancy and decrease in cardiovascular death and infant mortality
But there is still a long way to go. Compared to other developed countries, the U.S.:
- Has the highest rate of injury and homicides from car crashes and other accidents
- Has the highest rate of obesity
- Has the second highest rate of diabetes
- Has the 2nd highest rate of HIV among 17 countries
- Has the highest rate of death induced by drugs even when death by drunk driving is removed
- Has the highest rate of adolescent pregnancy
National Public Health Week was created to address some of these problems specifically while raising general awareness of positive changes for better health. At Nevada Pain, we routinely address ways to stay active and healthy in Nevada. Here are some of our favorite posts on health.
It seems like becoming a vegetarian would automatically be a healthier choice, but the increase in plant-based diets has come with an increase of pre-packaged, prepared food without the meat but filled with sugar, salt, fat, and preservatives. This post goes into the 12 dos and don’ts for becoming a vegetarian deliciously and with good health.
We don’t always like to talk about it, but a healthy gut means overall good health. It is important to keep a good balance of healthy bacteria in the gut. These websites offer tips, dietary advice, personal stories, and a healthy dose of humor to discuss a sometimes unpleasant topic. Inflammation and bad bacteria in the gut can lead to or exacerbate everything from asthma to chronic pain. Keep it healthy!
Biking is experiencing a renaissance in major cities, thanks in part to bike share programs and newly-built dedicated bike lanes. Biking is a great, low-impact exercise that is easy on the joints (great for those with chronic pain) and fun to do as a family. Make sure to strap on a properly fitted helmet then get out on the trail or bike lane!
Stress is a major health concern in the U.S., and work can be a major source of stress for many people. This post examines the impact that chronic, long-term, work-related stress can have on both physical and mental health.
Mental and physical health are two sides of the same coin, with one feeding (or sapping) the other. The United States has the 3rd highest rate of death due to Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Protecting your brain and keeping it sharp is another way to increase good health and longevity.
Good health needn’t be deadly serious. There is strong evidence for the health benefits of play, and here we look at what makes play so good for us. Play is not just for kids!
Start your own journey towards health
Getting involved in National Public Health Week is a great way to kick off your own journey to better health. Here’s some ways to start:
- Win a contest: Spread awareness and promote healthy change in your community by designing a photo, video, meme, or event page that answers the question “How can we do better?” Highlight how your community is promoting increased health and awareness, and you could win $100!
- Join a chat: Participate in the National Public Health Week chat on April 8th at 2 pm ET by following @NPHW or the hashtag #NPHW on Twitter.
- Find an event: From walks to health summits, partners all over the U.S. are planning events for the week. Find an event near you and join in!
Finally, the most powerful thing you can do to mark National Public Health Week is to take charge of your own health. Make a commitment to yourself and your loved ones to eat better and exercise more, then go out and get started. An extra glass of water a day, one more walk a week, or an extra serving of vegetables and whole grains can make a world of difference the whole year long. This year, make the commitment to being healthier in your life.
What steps will you take to change your life during National Public Health Week?
Image courtesy of National Public Health Week