The North Dakota Department of Health is highlighting the importance that public health and prevention play in keeping all North Dakota communities healthy during National Public Health Week recognized April 1 through 7, 2013.
To highlight this year’s theme of “Public Health is a Return on Investment (ROI), Save Lives, Save Money,” public health leaders across the country are calling on Americans to take actions aimed at preventing disease before it begins and lowering the cost of health care. Every year in the United States, seven out of 10 deaths are due to preventable chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. In fact, chronic diseases account for 75 percent of national health-care spending, yet only 3 percent of our health-care dollars go toward prevention. Here in North Dakota, 58.3 percent of our residents are living with a costly and potentially life-threatening chronic illness. But there are steps we can take to help turn these statistics around.
Many chronic diseases can be prevented by reducing the risk factors of poor nutrition, overweight/obesity, lack of physical activity and tobacco use. Three powerful public health strategies to facilitate changes in risky behaviors are:
- Promote wellness in schools.
- Promote wellness in workplaces. (https://www.ndworksitewellness.org/)
- Engage and empower communities to lead the movement for a healthier North Dakota.
Supporting these public health approaches to better health results in life-saving returns. For example, research shows that comprehensive worksite wellness has been shown to decrease health-care costs by 26 percent, decrease workers’ compensation expenses by 32 percent, and decrease absenteeism by 26 percent.
Fargo Cass Public Health will be conducting free blood pressure checks in the Herberger’s wing at West Acres Mall on Wednesday, April 3, from noon-6 p.m. There will also be free emergency preparedness guides and activity books for kids, free refrigerator thermometers, and flood clean-up information.