Another month is upon us and in honor of the first day of April, my blog is dedicated to National Public Health Week, April 4-10. Every year during the first week of April, the American Public Health Association (APHA) brings together communities across the United States for a common mission. APHA’s goal is to recognize the contributions of public health and to highlight issues that are important to improving our nation. APHA focuses on a variety of topics, such as: building a safe nation, establishing healthy communities, implementing youth education, providing quality health care, and strengthening public health infrastructure.
One of APHA’s topics includes being able to give everyone a choice of healthy food within your community. According to the APHA, there is a direct link between poor nutrition and many of the leading causes of death in American, such as heart disease, some cancers, stroke and diabetes. Additionally, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows most U.S. youth don’t eat enough fruits, vegetables or whole grains, with many exceeding the recommended maximum daily intake of sodium and sugar.
So what can we do? During National Public Health Week and beyond, NCRPA challenges your department to start making changes in your community for the better. Inform your community on how kids and adults can have access to healthier and cleaner food. Listed are three ideas your department can engage in. First, implement a community garden. Refer to NCRPA’s Community Gardens page for ideas on creating and establishing a successful garden within your community. Another idea is to encourage your community to use local produce! Purchasing local food general means that you are receiving a fresher product, as well as supporting your community’s economy. Check-out NCRPA’s Local Produce page for more information. Lastly, provide healthy vending policies in your park and recreation facilities year-round. NCRPA’s Vending page discusses how to develop healthy food guidelines, and locating a vendor that is willing to provide healthier options. There are plenty of vending companies that service North Carolina that include healthy options, some are: Grow Healthy Vending, Smart Fuel/Smart Choice and Be Better Vending. For more ideas, visit NPHW’s Healthy Foods page.
NCRPA is challenging your department to become involved in National Public Health Week in one way or another. Please email us or submit your ideas on the wellness site here: (firstname.lastname@example.org,http://www.ncrpa.net/?Wellnesssub).