Press Release
 April 4, 2014
Melaney Arnold (217) 558-0500

How Public Health Impacts You

IDPH wants to empower you to improve your health during National Public Health Week

SPRINGFIELD – If you have ever eaten at a restaurant, gone to a hospital, needed an ambulance or received a flu shot, you’ve been touched by public health. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), in conjunction with 96 certified health departments across the state, works every day to control infectious diseases, ensure food safety, conduct newborn screenings, provide immunizations, regulate hospitals and nursing homes, compile birth, death and other statistics, and educate communities on how to live healthier lives. April 7-13, 2014 is National Public Health Week, a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation.

“For the first time in decades, the current generation is not as healthy as the previous generation,” said IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. “I encourage people to look at their health, the health of their family and of their community to see what positive changes can be made to improve the quality of life and rebound to a healthier generation.”

This year’s theme is, “Public Health: Start Here” and each day has a specific focus.

Monday, April 7: Be healthy from the start.

Did you know?

Start here.

Breast feeding longer is associated with decreased risk of common childhood infections, sudden infant death syndrome and chronic conditions.

Public health professionals can help answer questions or provide resources for breastfeeding, prenatal health and other topics related to family health.

Nearly one-third of all students do not graduate from high school on time.  Students who don’t graduate face lifelong health risks and high medical costs, and are more likely to engage in risky health behaviors. 

Work with local schools and community centers to develop after-school programs to help at-risk students with homework.  Partner with a local university to identify volunteers to serve as tutors or mentors.

Tuesday, April 8: Don't panic.

Did you know?

Start here.

Every year, thousands of people are affected by severe weather threats, such as tornadoes and severe thunderstorms.  Preliminary data for 2012 shows there were more than 450 weather-related fatalities and nearly 2,600 injuries.

Host a night of emergency preparedness: make plans for putting together an emergency stockpile kit, create a crisis communication plan, designate an emergency meeting place and hold household emergency drills.

Flu seasons are unpredictable and can be severe.  Over a period of 30 years, between 1976 and 2006, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the U.S. range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people.

Get a flu vaccine every year.  The vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older.

Wednesday, April 9: Get out ahead.

Did you know?

Start here.

Seven in 10 deaths in the U.S. are related to preventable diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer.  

Reach out to clinical partners and engage them in community health and prevention efforts.

Average medical expenses are more than twice as high for a person with diabetes as they are for a person without diabetes.

Diabetes prevention can be as basic as eating more healthfully and becoming more physically active.

Thursday, April 10: Eat well.

Did you know?

Start here.

We are now eating 31 percent more calories than we were 40 years ago — including 56 percent more fats and oils and 14 percent more sugars and sweeteners.  The average American now eats 15 more pounds of sugar a year than in 1970.

Ask local restaurants to provide nutrition information on their menus, as newly required by the Affordable Care Act’s food labeling law.

Foodborne contaminants cause an average of 5,000 deaths, 325,000 hospitalizations and 76 million illnesses annually.

Chilling foods to proper temperatures is one of the best ways to slow the growth of bacteria.  Make sure refrigerators are kept at 40 F or below. 

Friday, April 11: Be the healthiest nation in one generation.

Did you know?

Start here.

The U.S. spends more on health care than any other country.  However, investing just $10 per person each year in community-based public health efforts could save the nation more than $16 billion within five years.

Partner with a local university’s public health department to help educate the community on public health options available to them.

Widening access to care by investing in expanded Medicaid eligibility, funded via the Affordable Care Act, results in better health outcomes and reductions in mortality.

Visit to learn more about newly available options for health care and enroll in coverage provided under the Affordable Care Act.

You can also check with you local health department for upcoming events or health fairs in your area.

On Wednesday, April 9, 2014, at 10:30 a.m., Dr. Hasbrouck will be attending the Health Check Clinic held at the Henry and Stark County Health Department at 4424 US Highway 34 in Kewanee. At 12:15 p.m., he will be attending the Knox County Health Department recognition luncheon located at 1361 West Freemont Street in Galesburg. At 5:00 p.m., Dr. Hasbrouck will attend the Madison Community Unit School District Annual District Wide Health Fair at Bernard Long Elementary School, 1003 Farrish Street in Madison.

On Friday, April 11, 2014 at noon, IDPH will join the National Center for Rural Health Professions and the Winnebago County Health Department at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford, 1601 Parkview Avenue, Rockford, to celebrate all things public health.

IDPH is committed to promoting awareness of health issues and how to address them through developing and expanding partnerships. Building partnerships is just one of IDPH’s priorities in its Five Year Strategy 2014-2018. For a copy of the strategic plan, go to

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Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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