We ain’t getting any healthier.. but we can be.

“For the first time in decades, the current generation isn’t as healthy as the one that came before.” With advances in medical technology and perhaps a greater focus, if not obsession, on health than ever, this is a frightening trend. So, what can we do?Infographic

Going along with today’s National Public Health Week theme, “Be the healthiest nation in one generation,” the Chatham County Public Health Department is working hard to build healthy communities. Here is an example of a successful partnership between the health department and Town of Siler City, one that remains strong.

Siler City Pedestrian Master Plan- Last year, the health department partnered with the Town of Siler City on its Pedestrian Master Plan. The plan was the first of its kind to focus on pedestrian access to stores that sell healthy food. It also considers access to parks and greenways, as well as pedestrian safety. This partnership remains strong, with the health department contributing to a Safe Routes to School Project at Chatham Middle School in Siler City, as well as constructing ADA curb ramps at an intersection downtown prioritized in the Pedestrian Plan.

Today, Health Promotion Coordinators Jennifer Park and Sarah Weller are presenting at a state-wide health educator conference about this project and the importance of these partnerships. To become a healthier nation, we all need to come together to address the barriers to health and share what we learn in the process.

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Eat Well: Dietitian Tara Gregory talks Food

Today’s National Public Health Week Theme, Eat Well, is a good place to start when talking about living healthily. From health promotion and diabetes self-management programming, to food safety and even a little gardening, food is a major focus of what we do here and spans most of our divisions.

For some perspective on what simple changes can make eating well doable for Fresh Fruits and Vegetablesthose of us who like to indulge a little too often, Tara Gregory, Registered Dietitian, shared a few words of wisdom.

“Eating well can make all the difference! Start eating healthier today with just a few changes.

  1. Make half of your meals colorful vegetables and fruits. They are loaded with health benefits but with very few calories!
  2. Include quality protein at each meal and snack. Try chicken, fish, beans, or peanut butter as a few examples.
  3. Our bodies rely on water to function the way we want them to so swap out those sweetened drinks for more water. Try carrying a water bottle with you, taking sips from it throughout the day and refilling at water fountains.

Making positive changes to your diet can help you achieve health goals, prevent some illnesses, and feel better.”

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Get Out Ahead: Perspective from Sarah Weller, Health Promotion Coordinator

Today’s National Public Health Theme, “Get Out Ahead,” focuses on the importance of disease prevention. All to often, our healthcare system considers the role of treatment in disease management without considering measures that can be taken to prevent a disease from occurring in the first place. Focusing on disease prevention can yield benefits to quality of life as well as economic savings. To public health advocates, prevention and public health are often synonymous. We spoke today with Sarah Weller, Health Promotion Coordinator, for her thoughts on what prevention means right here in Chatham County.

Sarah at the Open House

Sarah at the Open House

“The leading causes of death in Chatham County are heart disease and cancer. Both of these could be drastically reduced through healthy behavior choices. Simple changes in day-to-day activities, such as drinking water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, could have long-term health benefits and help prevent chronic disease.”

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Don’t Panic! Advice from Beth Dickens, Preparedness Coordinator

Today is Day 2 of National Public Health Week, and the theme of the day is “Don’t Panic.” To avoid panic in times of emergencies, it is best to be prepared. For thoughts on what to do, we reached out to Beth Dickens, Preparedness Coordinator. She shared with us the following words of wisdom.

“Don’t try to prepare for every disaster or emergency all at one time. Think about what you are most likely to experience at that time of the year, such as flooding, tornadoes, and excessive heat or cold. Then think about what you need if you lose power or need to sustain yourself, your family, or your neighbors. Do you have what you need or do you need to buy anything, such as fresh batteries, emergency weather radio, bottled water, and non-perishable food? Do you have an emergency plan? That way, when something does happen, you’re less likely to panic because you already know what you’re going to do.”

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National Public Health Week starts today!

This year’s theme is “Start Here,” and what better place to start than our new Facebook page! Click here to stay up to date with events and to like us.

Here are a few photos from our Open House yesterday, which was part of Pittsboro’s First Sunday event. Thanks to all who stopped by!

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