Step up. Be healthy this week

Monday, 3 April 2017

South Australians across the state are being urged to ‘Step Up. Be Healthy’ as the second annual Public Health Week gets underway today.

SA Health’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Paddy Phillips said after the success of the inaugural Public Health Week in 2016, even more events will be held across the state this week to celebrate public health.

“Last year, our first Public Health Week overwhelmingly raised awareness about the significant but often unseen role public health plays on a daily basis to protect health, prevent illness and promote wellbeing in the community,” Professor Phillips said.

“In 2017, we have built on that success and we’ll be holding even more events and seeing an even greater involvement from councils and non-government organisations across the state.

“Around 38 councils participated in Public Health Week last year so it’s great news that even more local councils will be participating this year, to remind their community about the importance of public health.”

From Adelaide to the Riverland, Eyre Peninsula and through to the far north, a wide range of events are being held to celebrate Public Health Week including cooking classes, healthy expos and interactive displays about public health.

Other key events that people are encouraged to make the most of include AdMental, an advertising pitch session based on the ABC television show The Gruen Transfer, and free access to sports equipment provided by Adelaide City Council in Victoria Square.

Professor Phillips said while people may not realise it, public health initiatives over the years have improved life expectancy rates.

“One undeniable example of public health services that have improved life expectancy and wellbeing is through immunisation programs,” Professor Phillips said.

“In 1922, polio – a highly infectious disease which can result in irreversible paralysis – became a notifiable disease in response to the first large epidemic in South Australia.

“Outbreaks of polio continued every second or third summer until 1959, when the polio vaccine was introduced. By the year 2000, Australia was declared polio free.

“This year, with our Step Up. Be Healthy theme, we are focussing on not only the physical steps that individuals can take to improve their health, but the steps that councils, non-government organisations and communities can make together to improve wellbeing.

“When you hear the words ‘public health’, you might think of hospitals, medical care and sick people, but public health works behind the scenes to keep individuals and communities safe and well every day.”

To launch Public Health Week, a Step Up. Be Healthy stair art installation was unveiled while celebrity chef and SA Health Food Safety Ambassador, Adam Liaw, gave a free cooking demonstration about safe food handling at Rundle Place.

Public Health Week runs from 3 – 7 April 2017.

For more information and details of events being held throughout Public Health Week, see: Protecting public health.

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