Public health is the health of the entire population and it requires everyone play their parts to maintain the health of the whole. Americans have made great strides in our healthcare systems so much that the average life expectancy has gone up over 10 years from the 1950’s. Modern medicine has advanced monumentally in a short amount of time, but we still have a long way to go. The level of care offered in the U.S. is unquestionably some of the best in the world, however access to that care is still lagging far behind. Most people see public health and they think of doctors, nurses, hospitals, and expensive medical bills. All these things play a role of course, but workers in the field of public health may look a little different than what most people expect. A janitor is a public health worker, the sanitization of public spaces is exceptionally important in containing the spread of infectious disease. Restaurant inspectors are another example of the unsung heroes who are working behind the scenes to keep America healthy. Unfortunately, the advances in technology and shifts in lifestyle have led to new diseases, injuries, and unseen combinations of co-morbidities.
TREATMENT VS. PREVENTION
In general, when speaking of public health, the focus lies on the preventatives opposed to the treatments. Medical advancements have come a long way in short time, access remains a key factor though. Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals are sorely needed across the country; however, we will never have enough to treat every single American. The rest of us must do our part to stay healthy and educate others on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Something as simple as regular access to healthcare can literally add years to your life.
Maintaining personal health should be a top priority, life always seems to find a way to rearrange our priorities, however. There are some things almost all of us can do, if we are not already, to begin taking control of our personal health.
1. Walk at least 10 minutes every day– It may sound simple and that is because it is. It is easy, but no less beneficial when done consistently. Of course, there is always the option of increasing the difficulty, either by running, walking longer distances, or a combination of both.
2. Eat home cooked meals– This is not possible for everyone, but eating a healthier diet certainly is.
3. Do not abuse drugs– This seems obvious, yet a stunning percentage of the population is dependent on some form of drug.
For more information on public health and how we can all contribute to a healthier society check out the American Public Health Association linked below.