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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Take Small Steps Toward a Healthier Life

Even the seemingly small actions you take can make a big difference when it comes to public health.

In observance of National Public Health Week, April 2-8, the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center is offering up some small steps you can take to prevent illness and live a longer life.  

Stay Active, Eat Healthy

Park a distance from the door of your destination and walk, take the stairs inside buildings or step away from the computer screen and take a walk outside. Aim for 60 minutes for children and 30 minutes for adults each day. Not being physically active is a primary reason for a third of adults being overweight or obese and one in six children and adolescents being obese.

Choose Less Sugar, Fat

Reach for an apple instead of a brownie as a snack. Control portion sizes and do not eat mindlessly from a food container like a bag of chips. Consider a portion size being similar to the size of your fist. Fewer than 15 percent of adults and 10 percent of adolescents eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day.

Live Tobacco, Drug Free, Prevent Alcohol Abuse

Quit using all tobacco products and make your home smoke free. Each year more than 443,000 people die from tobacco use. Enjoy yourself at a gathering without binge drinking and make sure youths cannot access alcohol in your home. Nearly 80,000 people die each year from alcohol use.

Prevent Communicable Diseases

Properly wash your food and hands before cooking to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses. Most food poisoning is caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites rather than toxic substances in the food. Keep current on immunizations to protect yourself and those around you. Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue or cough into the crook of your arm to prevent the spread of influenza, pertussis, TB and other communicable diseases.Keep communications open with your children about knowledge, values and attitudes toward sexuality and healthy relationships.

Maintain Mental, Emotional Well-Being

Encourage children and adolescents to participate in extracurricular activities. Use positive parenting to reduce the emergence of child behavioral problems. Identify the signs of depression and suicide in others and refer them to appropriate assistance.

"Some of the world's best health care initiatives are available in this country, but healthy lives begin with prevention," said Irene Pierce, the Health Department's Executive Director. "National Public Health Week is an ideal time to make small changes that can have a big impact on your life."

For more information, visit the Health Department's web site at: www.lakecountyil.gov/health.

Information provided by Lake County Health Department.Thanks. We'll email you the next time we update this story.

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