History of National Public Health Week

Since 1995, when the first full week of April was declared National Public Health Week (NPHW), communities across the United States have observed NPHW as a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving the public’s health.

The American Public Health Association (APHA) serves as the organizer of NPHW and develops a national campaign to educate the public, policymakers and practitioners about issues related to that year’s theme. APHA creates comprehensive planning, organizing and outreach materials that can be used during and after the week to raise awareness.


Healthiest Nation 2030

Despite what we often hear, Americans are not the healthiest people in the world. In the United States, we spend more on health care but live shorter lives and suffer more health issues than our peers in other high-income countries. This year, the Sarpy/Cass Health Department will focus on ways to improve the health of our communities, as well as to highlight the negative and positive trends affecting our health.

For more information about National Public Health Week, visit

Changing our health means ensuring conditions that give everyone the opportunity to be healthy. Join us in celebrating National Public Health Week 2017 and become a part of the movement for change.

The following are a few ways to make the United States and our communities healthier:


Build a nation of safe, healthy communities

The home and neighborhood you live in can impact your health and your opportunity to engage in healthy behaviors. We want people across the U.S. to live in communities where they can be safe and active throughout the day. 

There are many barriers to health in our homes and neighborhoods that we need to overcome. The following are a few resources to assist with healthy homes and communities:


Child passenger safety

Emergency preparedness


Radon: Nebraska licensed measurement businesses

Traffic safety


Help all young people graduate from high school

High school graduates tend to lead longer and healthier lives than their peers who drop out. This is partly due to a graduate’s ability to earn more money and afford better health care and housing in safer neighborhoods. But by completing a high school education, graduates also have an opportunity to learn more about healthy behaviors such as healthy eating and physical activity. Graduates are more likely to practice these healthy behaviors and ultimately have a better chance of growing a strong social support network.

Many students who dropout and don’t graduate from high school do so to get a job or provide care for a relative or child. Common barriers to graduation include bullying, absenteeism, undiagnosed or unmanaged physical and mental health issues, and chronic stress related to social and environmental circumstances. 

Education is the leading indicator of good health, giving people access to better jobs, incomes and neighborhoods. Call for policies that start with early school success and lead to higher on-time high school graduation rates. Be a champion for school-based health centers in your local schools. Become a mentor — you can make a difference!

Midlands Mentoring Program

Nebraska alternative public schools

Preventing School Dropout

Teammates Mentoring Program



Give everyone a choice of healthy food

There’s a direct link between poor nutrition and many of the leading causes of death in America such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Healthy eating is important at any age, but the food on a young person’s plate can change their health and growth for life. Yet, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows most U.S. youth don’t eat enough fruits, vegetables or whole grains, with many exceeding the recommended maximum daily intake of sodium and sugar. Today, nearly one in three U.S. kids are either overweight or obese and at risk of developing a chronic illness. Obesity presents a health equity challenge as well, as it negatively affects some populations more than others. Thankfully, there are evidence-based fixes to get our families eating healthier:

Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020

Food Bank for the Heartland

Food desert locator map

Healthy eating on a budget

Nutrition standards for school meals

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Women, Infants and Children Program


Preparing for the health effects of climate change

Our health is connected to our environments. What happens upstream to our environments at work, school and home affects our health downstream. Support policies that protect the air we breathe indoors and outdoors and the clean water we drink as well as those that help protect our health from natural and manmade weather events and disasters. 

Cass County Recycle Center

Climate in Nebraska

Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act

Household hazardous waste collection


Provide quality health care for everyone

Health reform was just a start. To fulfill its potential, we must continue to pursue options for expanded access to quality care at the federal, state and local levels. But we also need to shift the main focus of our health system from one that treats illness to one that equally emphasizes prevention. 

Affordable Care Act

Charles Drew Health Center


Nebraska Medicaid Program

One World Community Health Center

Prevention and Public Health Fund