This month, Solano County joins the American Public Health Association and communities around the country in activities designed to encourage active and healthy lifestyles.

This year’s theme for National Public Health Week is A Healthier America Begins TODAY: Join the Movement! The Solano County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution Tuesday, April 3, 2012 declaring April 2-8 as Public Health Week in Solano County.

Each weekday of National Public Health Week focuses on a prevention theme, including active living and healthy eating; living tobacco and drug-free and preventing alcohol abuse; prevention of diseases; reproductive and sexual health; and mental and emotional well-being.  

“There are many small steps we can take to begin leading healthier lives,” said Solano County Health Officer Bela Matyas. “Small steps such as eating more fruits and vegetables, exercising daily, conducting proper hand-washing and food preparation, quitting smoking, and reducing your exposure to second-hand smoke can improve our health.”

Nearly one million Americans die each year from diseases that could have been prevented. Early identification and treatment can help prevent the onset of disease, decrease rates of chronic disease and help people lead longer, healthier lives. If we take small actions, our communities, homes and families will see the large benefits of preventive care.  Here are just a few of the ways people can stay healthy:

  • Consume less sugar and fat, eat healthier snacks, watch portion size and eat together as a family.
  • Engage in physical activity every day. Aim for a total of 60 minutes for children, 30 minutes for adults.
  • Quit the use of tobacco products. Contact Solano County Tobacco Prevention & Education Program for upcoming “Kick the Butts” quit tobacco classes at 1-800-287-7357 or call the California Smokers’ Helpline at 1-800-NO-BUTTS.
  • Teach everyone to cough and sneeze into their shirt at the elbow or shoulder.
  • Wash your hands and food properly before food preparation to prevent the spread of bacteria or viruses.
    • During pregnancy eat healthy, stay active, stop the use of tobacco and alcohol, and see a doctor regularly.
    • Promote positive early childhood development, including positive parenting and violence-free homes.
    • Identify the signs of depression and suicide and refer people to appropriate community resources.

Every year, chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes cause Americans to miss 2.5 billion days of work and are responsible for millions of premature deaths.  In addition, injuries, accidents and violence affect people daily in all aspects of life.  For example, unintentional injuries – such as motor vehicle crashes, poisonings and burns – rank among the top 10 causes of death for people age 44 and younger.

“Recognizing and preventing these illnesses and injuries before they develop is the key to improving your health and the health of the community,” Matyas said.

Solano County residents can participate in activities throughout the month to improve their health. Some upcoming events include car safety seat demonstrations, cooking classes, a community immunization clinic at the Vacaville Total Home and Garden Show from April 20 to April 22, and Bike Rodeos at several Solano County elementary schools.  For details on events, go to


Jayleen Richards is the Public Health Administrator for Solano County Health & Social Services, a partner of the Solano Coalition for Better Health.