National Public Health Week; Diabetes: Are you at risk?

Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS, discusses two health initiatives that will occur in the next three weeks. This year’s National Public Health Week will be held April 1-5, and will recognize the value of public health in our lives. Just before this annual event, the American Diabetes Association will sponsor an Alert Day on March 26. The ADA is encouraging people to take the Diabetes Risk Test  on this day to see if they are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

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The American Public Health Association serves as lead organizer of National Public Health Week (NPHW) and works with government agencies, non-profit organizations, and state and local partners to both build healthier communities and heighten awareness of important public health issues. This year’s NPHW will take place April 1-5.

Through the theme, “Public Health is ROI: Save Lives, Save Money,” NPHW 2013 will recognize the tremendous value of public health in our lives--at home, in schools, at the workplace, on the move and in the community. Learn how you can be involved in this year’s activities.

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In the public health arena, return on investment, or ROI, is measured by the amount of health impact when compared to the resources invested, which may include direct funds, infrastructure or personnel. The public health ROI can be measured in lives saved, diseases and injuries mitigated or prevented and cost avoided thanks to community-based disease prevention and health promotion services. Water fluoridation is an example of a program with a high ROI.

In light of hard-hitting fiscal constraints forcing public health agencies to do more with less, this year’s National Public Health Week theme “Public Health is ROI: Save Lives, Save Money” is tremendously important. Few investments are as far-reaching and life-changing as investments in evidence-based public health. It is the job this year to highlight the huge dividends it pays back into the health and well-being of communities across the country every day.

APHA has recognized and promoted National Public Health Week 2013 in a variety of ways. A comprehensive website was created and is routinely updated with pertinent NPHW 2013 information.(1) They have also organized a number of exciting events across the county in recognition of NPHW 2013, including one at George Washington University, the film Escape Fire, and the Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization.

With NPHW’s ever-growing social media presence on Twitter and Facebook, they have launched multiple contests and interactive activities in support of NPHW, including: our third annual Twitter chat on April 3 at 2 p.m. EDT using #NPHWchat or following @NPHW; a Student Contest, encouraging students to plan NPHW events(2); an Info Graphic Contest in partnership with Piktochart(3). The NPHW "Message Board," which can be found on the APHA Facebook page, is an interactive way for people to have their voices heard on what public health means to them.(4)

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APHA has created a comprehensive NPHW 2013 toolkit to help those who are interested prepare for NPHW.(5) Section 2 of this toolkit is focused on event planning and offers nine important tips to help prepare and host a successful event, which are as follows: Focus your event; organize a comprehensive speaker and participant list; schedule your event around NPHW activities; be accessible; secure a back-up venue; plan for a back-up speaker; create a “Run of Show;” plan for media interviews and inquiries; and check all audio and visual equipment before the event.

Examples and thorough descriptions of each of the above tips are available in section 2 of the NPHW 2013 Toolkit.

Each day of NPHW has a different theme. Daily themes are:

Monday, April 1: Ensuring a Safe, Healthy Home for Your Family: Health and safety begin at home. Make prevention a fun family tradition.(6)
• Tuesday, April 2: Providing a Safe Environment for Children at School: Schools are the perfect setting for improving child health. Plus, children's health is a rallying point few can ignore.(7)
Wednesday, April 3: Creating a Healthy Workplace: Wellness and safety in the workplace are good for health and for business. Let's make prevention work for us.(8)
Thursday, April 4: Protecting You While You're on the Move: Safety on the go is often in our own hands, but it's also tied to community design. Together, we can turn our streets into roads to better health.(9)
Friday, April 5: Empowering a Healthy Community: Support public health efforts that create healthy opportunities for all. Good health is a community affair.(10)

American Diabetes Association Alert Day - March, 26, 2013
In keeping with Public Health, on March, 26, 2013, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) will be encouraging the public to take the Diabetes Risk Test, as well as to share the test with everyone they care about, friends, family members and colleagues. With each person that takes the test and knows their risk, the Association is that much closer to stopping diabetes.

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American Diabetes Association Alert Day, which is held every fourth Tuesday in March, is a one-day, “wake-up call” asking the American public to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The new Diabetes Risk Test asks users to answer simple questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risks for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Preventative tips are provided for everyone who takes the test, including encouraging those at high risk to talk with their health care provider.

Diabetes is a serious disease that strikes nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States, and a quarter of them, 7 million, do not even know they have it. An additional 79 million, or one in three American adults, have prediabetes, which puts them at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Recent estimates project that as many as one in three American adults will have diabetes in 2050 unless we take the steps to Stop Diabetes.(11) For more about risk factors for diabetes, and if you are at risk, visit the website.(11)

You can be part of the movement to Stop Diabetes and get your free Diabetes Risk Test (English or Spanish) by visiting the Association on Facebook, stopdiabetes.com or by calling 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383). Although Alert Day is a one-day event, the Diabetes Risk Test is available year-round.(11,12,13)

For the test in English, click here. For a Fact Sheet on the 25TH ANNUAL AMERICAN DIABETES ASSOCIATION ALERT DAY 2013, click here.

References
1. www.nphw.org.
2. http://www.nphw.org/news/in-the-news.
3. http://www.nphw.org/news/in-the-news/national-public-health-week-infographic-contest.
4. https://www.facebook.com/AmericanPublicHealthAssociation?fref=ts.
5. http://www.nphw.org/assets/general/uploads/APHA-NPHW2013_Sec_TWO_2b.pdf.
6. http://www.nphw.org/tools-and-tips/themes/ensuring-a-safe-healthy-home-for-your-family.
7. http://www.nphw.org/tools-and-tips/themes/providing-a-safe-environment-for-children-at-school.
8. http://www.nphw.org/tools-and-tips/themes/creating-a-healthy-workplace.
9. http://www.nphw.org/tools-and-tips/themes/protecting-you-while-youre-on-the-move.
10. http://www.nphw.org/tools-and-tips/themes/empowering-a-healthy-community.
11. http://www.diabetes.org/.
12. https://www.facebook.com/#!/AmericanDiabetesAssociation.
13. http://www.diabetes.org/espanol/default.jsp.

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Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS

To read previous RDH eVillage FOCUS articles by Maria Perno Goldie, click here.

To read more about diabetes and dental hygiene, click here.

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