Today kicks off National Public Health Week

News release from the Indiana State Department of Health:

Today kicks off National Public Health Week
Ensure Your Home is Safe and Healthy

(April 1, 2013, Indianapolis) – It may be April 1st, but don’t fool around when keeping your family safe and healthy at home. Today kicks off National Public Health Week (NPHW), an annual observance where communities across the country recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues which are important to improving the health of the nation.

“Public health is a term that’s not necessarily well understood in the community,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “Simply put, public health protects and improves lives. It impacts every aspect of living, including the safety of the water and food you consume, response to emergencies, tracking and responding to infectious diseases, having an immunized population, long term care, prevention and treatment of chronic diseases, and so much more. Public health works to educate and empower citizens to lead healthy lifestyles.

This year’s NPHW theme is “Public Health is Return on Investment (ROI): Save Lives, Save Money” and focuses on the economic impact of health and on the role that everyone in the community has to support public health and prevention. Each day from April 1-5 will highlight a different theme focusing on a specific prevention activity. Today’s theme is ensuring a safe, healthy home for your family. Proper preparation around the home can help protect the overall health of the family, including reducing infant mortality, falls, childhood and adult obesity, and more.

Creating a safe and healthy home environment can be done in many ways, such as keeping your home smoke-free, ensuring your children are current on their immunizations, stocking your refrigerator with fruits, vegetables and practicing safe and proper food handling techniques. In 2010, cardiovascular disease contributed to the death of more than 17,000 Hoosiers. Avoiding tobacco, eating nutritious meals, and getting regular exercise can all reduce the risk of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.

Accidents and injuries in the home pose a serious health threat. According to the latest State statistics from 2010, nearly 2,000 Hoosiers died from non-transport injuries such as falls, drowning, poisoning and exposure to smoke and fire. Taking precautions like installing and maintaining smoke detectors, putting fences around swimming pools, removing clutter, having proper lighting and creating an emergency plan can sometimes mean the difference between life and death or serious injury.

“Having an emergency plan and emergency kit are important steps to take in keeping your family safe during an emergency,” said Dr. VanNess. “Have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home and if you have toddlers, place safety devices on electrical outlets and child-proof latches on doors and cupboards where little ones could get into toxic chemicals or other dangerous items.”


For information on how to create an emergency kit and emergency action plan, visit

To visit the Indiana State Department of Health’s website, go to

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