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NHM Health Focus:
National Public Health Week

April 2009

Each year the American Public Health Association (APHA) joins with local and national public health groups to celebrate the first week in April as National Public Health Week.

This year's National Public Health Week theme is Building the Foundation for a Healthy America. "We have the potential to greatly improve our population's health in the future. By recommitting ourselves to support our nation's public health system, we can build on the successes of the past and establish the solid foundation needed for a healthy nation." APHA

Despite our best efforts, Americans are not as healthy as they should be. In the United States public health challenges and opportunities remain. According to APHA, life expectancy has reached a record high of 78.1 years but still ranks 46th– behind Japan and most of Europe, as well as countries such as Guam, South Korea and Jordan. A baby born in the United States is more likely to die before its first birthday than a child born in almost any other developed country. Among developed nations, only Latvia has a higher death rate for newborns than the United States. In addition:

  • An estimated one in 20 residents in the nation's capital are HIV-positive.
  • Disparities persist with ethnic minority populations having nearly eight times the death rate for key health conditions, such as diabetes, than that of non-minority populations.

KidsHealth.org lists 10 important Kids' Health issues to watch in 2009. Among these are public health issues that offer significant challenges:

With challenges such as these, come opportunities for organizations and for individuals. Organizations are working together for change at community, state, national and international levels. Individuals, including kids of all ages, are also accepting the challenge and making a difference as they work to understand the issues and work to improve the health of individuals and communities locally and around the world.

Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum resources related to public health:

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