PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
April 8, 2014

Mary E. O'Dowd, M.P.H.

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

Christie Administration Recognizes National Public Health Week, April 7-13


2014 National Public Health Theme - "Public Health Starts Here"

New Jersey Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd celebrated National Public Health Week, April 7-13, by highlighting New Jersey's effort to build healthier communities.

"National Public Health Week serves as reminder that we all need to do our part to create a healthier state not only for ourselves but for our children and future generations," said Commissioner O'Dowd. "During this week, we also celebrate the work our local health departments and public health partners are doing to make New Jersey a healthy place to live, learn, work and play."

Public Health Week emphasizes the importance of prevention through leading healthier lifestyles. The Department is working with its partners to support residents in improving their health. Over the past year, a wide range of stakeholders have worked with the Department to develop a five-year plan to reduce chronic disease, such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. The plan, called Partnering for a Healthy New Jersey, outlines evidence-based prevention programs and strategies that support healthy lifestyles. Chronic disease has a major impact on the health of New Jerseyans, representing seven of the leading causes of death in our state.

The Department, through its Shaping NJ initiative is also joining with its partners to empower communities to increase healthy food options and physical activity opportunities. The Department, with its funding partners the YMCA State Alliance and Partners for Health Foundation, will, in 2014, provide grants totaling $310,000 to 32 communities throughout the state. The grants are awarded to nonprofit organizations that team with local partners including schools, health departments, and faith-based organizations to support environmental changes to prevent obesity and poor health outcomes. Examples include creating community walking paths or purchasing a school salad bar and integrating it into the school's food service program.

National Public Health Week (NPHW) is organized by the American Public Health Association.

"Celebrated for nearly 20 years, National Public Health Week helps spread awareness of the contributions of public health and to highlight important issues for improving our nation's health," added O'Dowd.

In 2014, there are five sub-themes to National Public Health Week:

  • Be healthy from the start: From maternal health to school nutrition to emergency preparedness, public health starts at home. Your local health department is a great source for health awareness and education programs.
  • Don't panic: Emergency preparedness starts with community-wide commitment and action. Join your local or county Medical Reserve Corps. Visit https://njmrc.nj.gov/hcpr/">https://njmrc.nj.gov/hcpr/ for more information.
  • Get out ahead: Prevention is a nationwide priority. Find out the best ways to stay healthy through preventive actions.
  • Eat Well: Eating healthy is complex. There is a lot of information to parse in order to understand food labels and to learn the best practices during a food borne illness outbreak. Public health professionals can help guide people through their choices.
  • Be the healthiest nation in one generation: For the first time in decades, the current generation isn't as healthy as the one that came before. Communities need to band together to take a stance against this disturbing trend to make sure those children and young adults have bright, healthy futures. Public health professionals can lead the way by helping communities identify the resources and information available to keep everyone healthy and safe.

 For more information on National Public Health Week, visit http://www.nphw.org">www.nphw.org.      

Last Reviewed: 4/8/2014