State Official Says Healthy Lifestyle Helps Prevent Chronic Disease

STATE—Whether you eat more fruits and vegetables, start a walking program or catch up on your medical screenings, Health and Senior Services Commissioner Dr. Poonam Alaigh encouraged New Jersey residents to make healthy behavior changes now that can promote a longer and more active life.

“It’s important to act now to reduce your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes or other chronic disease,” Dr. Alaigh said. “Taking small steps now can make a big difference in your long-term health and quality of life.”
April 5 – 11 is National Public Health Week, which is recognized nationally to educate the public, policy-makers and the public health community about the issues important to improving public health.


“A Healthy America: One Community at a Time” is the theme of this year’s National Public Health Week, which is organized by the American Public Health Association. The theme highlights the important role individuals, schools and workplaces play in creating healthier communities.

Chronic diseases – such as heart disease, stroke, cancer diabetes, arthritis and obesity—are the nation’s leading cause of death and disability, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Nearly half of all American adults have at least one chronic disease. Minority communities are disproportionately affected.

However, chronic diseases are also among the most preventable health problems if people take steps to reduce their risks – get more exercise, adopt better eating habits, avoid tobacco and limit alcohol consumption.
DHSS has a number of programs aimed at preventing, detecting or more effectively managing diseases.

Below are some DHSS resources the public can use to improve health and reduce the risks of chronic disease:

•    Primary and Preventive Health Care –Uninsured and underinsured people can get affordable health care at one of the state’s 95 community health centers.

•    Cancer Screenings – Eligible residents can get free breast, cervical, colorectal and prostate cancer screenings through the Cancer Education and Early Detection Program.

•    Smoking Cessation – For information about how to quit smoking, visit the DHSS Quit Services web page at: http://njgov/health/ctcp/smokefree/quitservices.shtml

•    Flu Shots – Everyone should get an H1N1 flu shot and an annual flu shot. Information and a Flu Shot Locator are available on the H1N1 web site.

•    Osteoporosis – The DHSS osteoporosis page has information on risk factors, prevention and treatment. http://www.njgov/health/senior/osteo/whatis.shtml

•    Walking – Aimed at older adults, the Live Long, Live Well walking program helps people start a walking program, set goals, track progress and find walking clubs.  Web page includes a free walking log book anyone can use.

•    Nutrition and Fitness – The DHSS web site,, offers information and resources for maintaining a healthy weight, including Kids Corner and Tween Scene pages that make learning about fitness fun.

•    Arthritis – A leading cause of disability, arthritis affects more than 1.5 million New Jersey residents. Visit the DHSS arthritis web page to learn more about risk factors, and ways to prevent and manage the condition.

For more information, visit the National Public Health Week site at:

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