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Making Florida the healthiest state in the nation


The theme of this year’s National Public Health Week, Public health: Start here, is particularly fitting this year as we celebrate the Florida Department of Health for 125 years of service to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Our strong public health systems are critical for sustaining and improving community health. By informing and educating the public and providing periodic health screenings our county health department works hard to combat preventable chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

To combat the obesity epidemic that our nation is facing, Florida State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health, Dr. John H. Armstrong, launched Healthiest Weight Florida in January 2013 in Orlando. Be healthy from the start, the first daily theme of National Public Health week, which is celebrated April 7 through 13, emphasizes the importance of how being healthy starts from the moment a child is born. Through the Healthy Weight Florida initiative, and the Women, Infants and Children and Nutrition Program, the Florida Department of Health is building collaborations and providing assistance to counties, community groups and other partners to implement programs that focus on increasing the initiation and duration of breastfeeding and promoting improved nutrition and physical activity in early care and education.

Our department investigates all incidences of food or waterborne illness in an effort to minimize further risks to the public. This goes hand-in-hand with another daily theme, Eat well.

Our Public Health Preparedness team works with Miami-Dade County Emergency Management to ensure that we Don’t panic, and that our community is ready in the event of a catastrophic occurrence whether it is natural or man-made. Prevention is the key and is the focus of another daily theme, Get out ahead.

Our Community Health and Planning Office’s prime objective through tobacco prevention, healthy start and family planning programs is to inform the public through health fairs and other events while working with the Consortium for a Healthier Miami-Dade.

Since its inception, the team that makes up the Florida Department of Health has been working diligently to make this state the healthiest in the nation through collaborative efforts in our communities. Together, with every state, we can achieve the last daily theme, Be the healthiest nation in one generation.

Lillian Rivera, administrator/health officer, Florida Department of Health, Miami-Dade County

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