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For Release:
April 05, 2010

Poonam Alaigh, MD, MSHCPM, FACP

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

April 5 – 11 is National Public Health Week; Healthy Lifestyle Helps Prevent Chronic Disease


Whether you eat more fruits and vegetables, start a walking program or catch up on your medical screenings, Health and Senior Services Commissioner Dr. Poonam Alaigh encouraged New Jersey residents to make healthy behavior changes now that can promote a longer and more active life.


 “It’s important to act now to reduce your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes or other chronic disease,” Dr. Alaigh said. “Taking small steps now can make a big difference in your long-term health and quality of life.”


April 5 – 11 is National Public Health Week, which is recognized nationally to educate the public, policy-makers and the public health community about the issues important to improving public health.  


 “A Healthy America: One Community at a Time” is the theme of this year’s National Public Health Week, which is organized by the American Public Health Association. The theme highlights the important role individuals, schools and workplaces play in creating healthier communities.


Chronic diseases – such as heart disease, stroke, cancer diabetes, arthritis and obesity -- are the nation’s leading cause of death and disability, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Nearly half of all American adults have at least one chronic disease. Minority communities are disproportionately affected.


However, chronic diseases are also among the most preventable health problems if people take steps to reduce their risks – get more exercise, adopt better eating habits, avoid tobacco and limit alcohol consumption.


DHSS has a number of programs aimed at preventing, detecting or more effectively managing diseases.  Below are some DHSS resources the public can use to improve health and reduce the risks of chronic disease:







  • Walking – Aimed at older adults, the Live Long, Live Well walking program helps people start a walking program, set goals, track progress and find walking clubs.  Web page includes a free walking log book anyone can use.


  • Nutrition and Fitness – The DHSS web site,, offers information and resources for maintaining a healthy weight, including Kids Corner and Tween Scene pages that make learning about fitness fun.


  • Arthritis – A leading cause of disability, arthritis affects more than 1.5 million New Jersey residents. Visit the DHSS arthritis web page to learn more about risk factors, and ways to prevent and manage the condition.




For more information, please visit the National Public Health Week site at:



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Below are some of the events being held to mark National Public Health Week:


  • Statewide – “A Healthier New Jersey: One Community at a Time” is the topic of the 15th Annual Public Health Symposium on Wednesday, April 7, in Piscataway.  The event is sponsored by the New Jersey Public Health Association and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – School of Public Health.  Presentations will focus on hunger, obesity and efforts to make healthy food options more available to communities.  For more information, visit:


Featuring a giant, walk-through blood vessel, the interactive exhibition “Diabetes:  A Deeper Look” is now open at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City.  This 2,500-square foot traveling exhibit uses games, lights and sound effects, an interactive model of the human body and other interactive displays to educate the public about diabetes, treatment options and the role of insulin in the body.  The exhibit is on display through May 16.  For more information, visit:


  • Bergen County – The Bergen County Department of Health Services will kick off a week of activities on April 5 with the opening of special displays on public health in the Department’s building at 327 East Ridgewood Ave., Paramus, and at the animal shelter at 100 United Lane, Teterboro. On Thursday, April 8, the third annual awards ceremony will be held to honor volunteers and groups that have worked with the Department to protect public health.  The event will be held at 1 Bergen County Plaza, Hackensack, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


  • Other planned activities include free oral cancer screening conducted by appointment by local dentists, a tobacco cessation lunch-and-learn program, and Earth Day activities to raise awareness about environmental issues that impact public health.  For more information, visit


  • Cape May County – The annual Cape May County Healthcare Resource Day will be held Saturday, April 10 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Wildwoods Convention Center, 4500 Boardwalk, Wildwood.  The event will feature free health screenings, presentations on cancer prevention, and an opportunity to learn about the services offered by the Cape May County Health Department and 40 local health care organizations.  For more information, call 609-463-6521 or visit www.cmchealthnet.


  • Essex County – The City of Irvington is holding an event on Thursday, April 8 at 2 p.m. in City Council Chambers.  Irvington Health Officer Sandy Harris will speak about efforts to improve immunization rates among children attending day care centers.


  • Somerset County – An appreciation dinner is being held Tuesday, April 6 for the volunteers who assisted with the Middle-Brook Regional Health Commission’s public health response to the H1N1 flu.   The event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Somerville Elks Lodge, 375 Union Ave., Bridgewater.  More than 100 people are expected to attend.
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