Pontiac, Michigan -- Oakland County Health Division (OCHD), under the leadership of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, celebrates the 18th annual National Public Health Week (NPHW) the first week in April by focusing on how to keep you and your family safe no matter what your mode of transportation.
"Every day drivers, passengers, pedestrians and bicyclists face preventable dangers on the road. We need to design our communities with safe walking, biking and physical activity opportunities in mind," said Kathy Forzley, OCHD manager/health officer. "States with the highest levels of biking and walking also have the lowest levels of costly chronic disease, such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes."
- Always buckle your seat belt no matter how short the trip and don't be shy about reminding others to do the same.
- Texting can wait! Don't text while driving. Learn more at www.distraction.gov.
- Never drive impaired or let friends or family drive impaired. If you know you'll be drinking alcohol, have a designated driver.
- Be an alert pedestrian — always be mindful when using intersections.
- Always wear a helmet when on a motorcycle, scooter, in-line skates, or bicycle. If you're a driver, be mindful that you're sharing the road with more vulnerable travelers.
- Become familiar with the proper vehicle restraint systems for your child depending on his or her weight, height and age. For example, infants and toddlers through age 2 should be placed in rear-facing child safety seats, while children ages 2 to 4 should be placed in forward-facing child safety seats. Children 4 to 8 should be in a booster seat. Learn more at www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/CPS.
- Get involved with efforts to promote safe biking and walking to school, such as your local Safe Routes to School Program. Learn more at www.saferoutesmichigan.org.
- If possible, choose to walk or bike to daily destinations, such as to work or school. Choosing biking or walking over driving is an easy way to integrate routine physical activity into your life. To learn more about the biking and walking trails available at Oakland County Parks and Recreation, go to www.destinationoakland.com.
- Organize a community biking or walking group. Consider planning events that connect with other healthy opportunities, such as biking to a local farmers market or holding a community walking event.
- Support complete streets policies, which ensure that transportation planners design communities with all users — of all ages and abilities — in mind. Learn more at www.michigancompletestreets.com.
- Educate yourself on how biking and walking make our communities exercise-friendly, improve community cohesion, make our neighborhoods safer and reduce harmful motor vehicle pollution. Inclusive transportation planning is good for the public's health.
For more information on Health Division services or health related resources, find us on Facebook at Public Health Oakland or follow us at twitter.com/publichealthOC. You can also call Nurse on Call at 1-800-888-5533 or visit www.oakgov.com/health.
About National Public Health Week
Since 1995, when the first full week of April was declared National Public Health Week, communities across the United States have observed National Public Health Week as a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation. Each year, National Public Health Week focuses its effort on a different theme. This year's theme is "Public Health is ROI: Save Lives, Save Money." The 2013 theme was developed to highlight the value of prevention and the importance of well-supported public health systems in preventing disease, saving lives and curbing health care spending. National Public Health Week runs April 1-7. For more information, visit www.nphw.org.
For media inquiries only, contact Kathy Forzley, manager/health officer at Oakland County Health Division, at 248-858-1410.