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A healthy cause
Public health continuing to improve lives
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 According to the American Public Health Association, Americans are living 20 years longer than their grandparents, due in part to the work of public health. That’s the good news.

But, citizens of many other high-income countries live longer and suffer fewer health issues than we do.

To call attention to this, the Barton County Commission Monday morning approved a proclamation making April 4-10 as National Public Health Week. This is a chance for local health officials to join with the APHA to recall accomplishments and seek further improvements.

That’s why the American Public Health Association has created this observance. The goal is to make this nation the healthiest nation in one generation, by 2030.

During the first full week of April each year, the association brings together communities to mark this as a time to recognize the efforts of public health and highlight important health issues. 

For over 20 years, the APHA has organized NPHW. Every year, the association develops a national campaign to educate the public, policymakers and practitioners about issues related to each year’s theme. 

Highlighting this year’s theme was a comment made by commission Chairman Don Davis. “I’m in my 70s now and I never thought I make it that far. This is something everyone needs to be aware of.”

Many are calling 70 the new 50. And, living longer is great if our bodies are in good enough shape so we can enjoy these additional years.

This is why continued support of public health is important, said Barton County Health Director Shelly Schneider. If we live longer without caring for ourselves, that could create a new crisis and burden on future generations. 

“That’s the importance of prevention,” Schneider said.

“Recognizing National Public Health Week allows for a focused opportunity for the public to learn about the public health concerns and celebrate local success stories,” she said. Community goals include healthy eating, active living, reduced poverty, improved access to health care and mental health care that will make this community a healthier place to live.

The proclamation encouraged all residents to “invest in their health today, instead of paying for their sickness tomorrow, by eating healthier, being active and quitting tobacco.”

By calling attention to this cause, the commission is highlighting something that has a profound impact on our future.

Dale Hogg