What is Public Health?: Public Health Awareness

Posted by Amber Charette

 You may have seen the many bright red, rectangular shaped stickers placed around campus the past couple of weeks that say, "This is Public Health". And while many of you may be aware of and understand what falls under the realm of public health, others may be unsure.

To begin with, the World Health Organization says that public health "refers to all organized measures (whether public or private) to prevent disease, promote health and prolong life among the population as a whole." But what are "organized measures"? The answer is essentially anything done to help improve the health and wellbeing of people (and animals!). If this definition leaves you still confused, just think of public health as this: it's everything! From the sidewalks you walk on, to the roads you drive on, to the bike paths you cycle on, to the food you eat, the exercise facilities and options in your community, the grocery stores you shop at and the healthcare facilities around you, the list goes on. Stop and think about what things have helped to keep you healthy your entire life and you'll find that there are many factors.

While much has been done to improve the public health of everyone, there is still a lot of room for improvement. For instance, did you know that the current generation is the first to be less healthy than the generation before it? This is startling news for many to find out for the first time-and it should be. Much work needs to be done in areas such as physical education, nutrition, mental health and education in general to help change this fact. It is important that everyone care about public health, as it affects all of us. My personal advice on how you can contribute to improving society's health and wellbeing is to find something that interests you and that you are passionate about. Maybe this involves volunteering at an animal shelter, a soup kitchen, a hospital or a nursing home. With will, there really are no limits.

If this has sparked your interest in learning more about the topic of public health, another a great website to look into is the Public Health awareness page. Earlier this week, a public health fair was organized in the Tang to help celebrate National Public Health Week, which is April 7-13th (this week!). The EX-131: Intro to Public Health class, along with several other on-campus and off-campus clubs and departments, took the time to showcase what public health is all about. Another website that may be interesting and/or useful is: http://www.nphw.org/. It provides information on public health, and how you can become involved in helping out in your own community not only this week, but also every day. And if you need some motivation to care a bit more, just consider what sort of world you want to live in, and the changes you want to see. While spreading awareness is great, it's purposeless unless it aids in getting people to act.

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