The U.S. ranks 34th globally in life expectancy. National Public Health Week, an initiative of the American Public Health Association (APHA), is focused on creating the healthiest nation in one generation. It is an opportunity to consider the health needs of our cities, towns, and communities and reflect on how we as individuals can contribute to improving our own health and the health of our families and neighbors.
Three National Public Health Week mandates mirror the priorities of New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids.
Give everyone a choice of safe, healthy food
Make healthy choice the easy choice
Build a nation of safe, healthy communities
The APHA suggests numerous ways in which individuals can advocate for health:
Support menu labeling. Having the calories and fat content on the menu enables consumers to make healthy choices. Ask a local restaurant to consider making nutrition content available to patrons.
Support taxes on sugary drinks.
Ask your child’s school to put healthier choices on the menu, including fresh fruits and vegetables.
Plant a garden. If outdoor space is limited, plant tomatoes and other vegetables in a large pot. Share the yield with your neighbors.
Patronize businesses that do not sell cigarettes. Let the merchants know you appreciate their no tobacco policy.
Support local efforts that make it easier to safely walk, bike and be physically active in their communities.
Take advantage of parks and recreation activities in your community. Get involved in organizing activities for children and youth.
Most important, change at least one thing in your life that will lead to healthier living—whether improved nutrition, more physical activity or better habits. Be your own advocate and then share your success with others.