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For Release: March 28, 2013 – Pamela Williams, Office of Communications – 405/271-5601

Public Health Works to Confront Health and Safety Threats

National Public Health Week April 1-7

With National Public Health Week just around the corner (April 1-7), the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) reminds Oklahomans that an investment in public health keeps children healthy, communities strong, saves lives, and saves money.

“All Oklahomans benefit from an investment in public health,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Terry Cline. “Every dollar spent on preventing disease saves at least $5.60 in health spending. For some public health programs, the return on investment is even more. For example, for each dollar spent on childhood vaccination, $16.50 is saved in future health care costs.”

Public health and prevention programs delivered by the OSDH and its network of county health departments immunize children, screen persons for infectious diseases, protect persons from disasters and disease outbreaks, screen newborns for health problems, promote healthy lifestyles to reduce chronic conditions, assure quality in health care and consumer services, and promote on-the-job wellness and safety.

Nearly 75 percent of all health spending in the U.S. is on preventable chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes, but only three cents of every dollar spent on health care goes toward public health and prevention. “Yet we know that supporting public health approaches to health improvement results in life-saving returns,” Cline said.

“The work accomplished by public health professionals in Oklahoma’s communities should be valued for its positive impact on the health of the community,” Cline emphasized. “These workers are on the front lines to address, and prevent when possible, the health and safety threats faced by the community through disease surveillance, health education, injury prevention and consumer protection. In addition, these folks remind us that we all have a role to play in making Oklahoma a healthier state. Each of us can take simple preventive steps – eat better, move more and be tobacco free -- that lead to better health.”

To learn more about public health efforts in your community, call your local county health department or visit www.health.ok.gov. For information about National Public Health Week, visit www.nphw.org. For easy-to-follow recommendations on how you and your family can eat better, move more and be tobacco free, visit www.shapeyourfutureok.com


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