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Healthy People: Healthy Planet - Climate Change in LA
Date:4/3/2008

Theme for Public Health Week in Los Angeles Focuses on the Impact of the

Environment on Public Health

LOS ANGELES, April 3, 2008 /PRNewswire/ - The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health kicked off National Public Health Week today with a press conference held outside the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration. The theme for LA County this year is "Healthy People: Healthy Planet - Climate Change in LA". It focuses on the impact of climate change on health and how to make positive changes that benefit the environment and the individual.

"Los Angeles County has witnessed firsthand the connection between climate change and public health," said Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Director of Public Health and Health Officer. "This was most recently seen by the fires last fall. People with respiratory illnesses, such as asthma, were at greater risk of health problems related to the smoke and ash in the air. Public Health responded by issuing air quality alerts that warned sensitive individuals to stay inside to protect their health."

Climate change may cause extreme weather events and changes in rainfall that increase the risk of infectious diseases, food and water-borne illnesses, and respiratory illnesses related to air pollution. Children, the elderly, the poor, and those with chronic health conditions are considered the most susceptible to the negative health impacts of climate change.

"Responding to climate change can be as simple as using the three R's -- reduce, reuse and recycle," said Dr. Fielding. "Reduce your use of fuel and power by taking public transportation or walking to save money on gas and save the environment from harmful emissions, and use less electricity. Reuse materials that can be reused, such as paper products and plastic bags. And recycle as much as you can, including newspapers, bottles, and cans."

The "Healthy People: Healthy Planet - Climate Change" theme will be at the forefront of several National Public Health Week events to be held throughout the county, starting with the 2008 Public Health Week Awareness and Preparedness Family Festival to be held Saturday, April 5th, in Atlantic Avenue Park in East Los Angeles.

"It is important to remember that climate change also includes natural disasters, such as earthquake or wildfires," said Dr. Fielding. "These events disrupt our quality of life and do harm to our environment. You and your family will recover faster by being prepared and taking a few extra steps now. Being prepared will also help the natural environment return to normal more quickly."

The family festival will feature the "Just Be Ready: Prepare Together" emergency preparedness mobile education outreach program, which encourages residents to create a family communication plan, and to build an emergency preparedness kit with ten essential items: Water, Food, Cash & Important Documents, Clothes, Flashlight, First Aid Kit, Medicine, Radio, Toiletries and Tools. This award-winning campaign was specifically developed for the multicultural and multi-language communities of LA County. Materials will be produced in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Khmer, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Armenian, Russian, Arabic and Farsi.

Other events throughout the county include a health fair to be held in Steven Sorenson County Park in Los Angeles, the 5th Annual Health and Safety Expo to be held in Littlerock, an Emergency Preparedness and Safety Expo to be held in Santa Clarita, a "Good Environment = Good Health" fair to be held in Pomona, and numerous events focusing on the benefits of recycling, conservation and living a healthy lifestyle.

For a complete list of events in LA County related to Public Health Week, please visit the Public Health's website at: http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov, or call 211 LA County, the county's information line.

National Public Health Week is organized in conjunction with the American Public Health Association. The annual observance is designed to educate the public, policy-makers, and public health professionals about issues important to improving the public's health.

The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Public Health comprises more than 4,000 employees and an annual budget exceeding $750 million. To learn more about Public Health and the work we do, please visit http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.


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SOURCE Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
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