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Sullivan marks Public Health Week

April 9, 2014

The Sullivan County Health Services Advisory board supports Legislator Cindy Geiger’s resolution to dedicate April 7 through 13 as National Public Health week in Sullivan County.

During Public Health Week, all Sullivan County residents are encouraged to understand the value of public health through active engagement and adopting preventive lifestyle habits in support of the 2014 theme, “Public Health: Start Here.”

The American Public Health Association educates the public, policymakers and public health officials about important issues during National Public Health Week.

Some of the most outstanding national issues include:

• Seven in 10 deaths in the U.S. are related to preventable diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer.

• Seventy-five percent of health care dollars are spent on treatment of disease; only 3% on prevention.

• More than half of all deaths from cancer are potentially preventable through healthy lifestyle choices including regular exercise, healthy diet choices, smoking avoidance/cessation and following recommendations for periodic screening tests.

• The five most common food-borne contaminants cause approximately 5,000 deaths, 325,000 hospitalizations and cost the U.S. economy over $44 billion annually in medical costs and productivity.

Sullivan County is ranked 61 out of 62 New York State (NYS) counties for the poorest health outcomes (County Health Rankings, 2014). The premature death rate is one of the highest in NYS.

All public health stakeholders need to join to prevent injuries, and to reduce prescription drug abuse, smoking and alcohol abuse, which result in increased hospitalizations and poor health outcomes. Overweight and obesity will require engagement of the entire population to take control of healthy lifestyle choices through ongoing education and advocacy.

Public Health: Start Here is a good start for a new engagement agenda for Sullivan County in 2014.

Dr. Regina R. Olason, MD
Chair, Health Services Advisory Board, Sullivan County Public Health Services