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HAHRC BEATS: Public Health is a return on investment

April 1 marked the start of National Public Health Week. The theme of the week is “Public Health is ROI (Return on Investment): Save Lives, Save Money.”

Prevention is key: Our public health system can prevent disease, save lives and curb health care spending.

We know that chronic diseases are a serious problem, as are the rising costs of healthcare. We can improve health by supporting broader public health programs in our community and taking steps at home. Try these ideas to celebrate public health:

Monday: Make sure your home is safe for your family

Install and maintain smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.

Make a plan for how you would evacuate from your home if there were an emergency.

Store cleaning supplies and medicines in locked cabinets out of the reach of children.

Tuesday: Provide a safe place for children at school

Make sure there are actions against bullying.

Create a safe space for kids who are being bullied to get help.

Volunteer for school health education efforts that teach kids to say no to tobacco, drugs and alcohol.

Wednesday: Create a healthy workplace

Educate employees in English and Spanish as needed about workplace safety regulations and train them to recognize unsafe or unhealthy settings.

Create a work setting where workers feel at ease in reporting unsafe work conditions or workplace abuse.

Take simple steps to create workplace wellness, like posting reminders to wash hands, offering health foods at meetings or organizing workplace walking groups.

Thursday: Protect yourself while you’re on the move

Buckle up and make sure kids are too; either in a car seat, booster seat or seat belt. Call the Commission on Children and Families with questions about car seats (541-386-2500).

Don’t text, eat or use the phone while driving. Learn more at www.distraction.gov.

Don’t drink and drive, let others drink and drive, or get into a vehicle with someone who has been drinking.

Friday: Empower a healthy community

Stay up to date on recommended shots for yourself and your loved ones.

Support local farmers markets. It’s good for your health and it’s good for the local economy.

Look up the national Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans to see how much physical activity you should get each day: visit www.health.gov/paguidelines to learn more.

These helpful tips come from the American Public Health Association for National Public Health Week. For more information visit: www.nphw.org.

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Lauren M. Kraemer, M.P.H., serves on the Extension Family and Community Health Faculty, Oregon State University/Wasco and Hood River County Extension.

Healthy Active Hood River County is our community healthy living coalition. HAHRC promotes wellness through increased physical activity, healthy eating, tobacco use prevention and policy and environmental change.

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