April 4, 2003 – The Health Department will be observing National Public Health Week April 7-13 throughout the territory.
On Monday, an opening ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. at Government House on St. Thomas.
On Tuesday, the department will sponsor a free conference on "Getting in Shape for the Future — Healthy Eating and Active Living" at Marriott Frenchman's Reef Beach Resort on St. Thomas. Health Commissioner Mavis Matthew said in a release that the program will focus on health, obesity and physical activity.
The conference, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. including continental breakfast and lunch, is to serve as the launch for "the Healthy People 2010 Plan." No one could be reached at the Health Department for information on the plan.
Matthew said in the release that obesity has reached epidemic proportions, and blacks and Hispanics are becoming overweight at a faster rate than other ethnic groups. "The number of children who are overweight has tripled in the last decade," she said, and this increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, disabilities and premature death.
The Health Department wants to encourage people to "eat healthy" and get physically fit as part of its National Public Health Week activities, Matthew said.
Throughout the week, department personnel will be conducting health screenings at some public housing communities.
On Thursday, a Health and Nutrition Display and Counseling Fair will take place at Sunny Isle Shopping Center in St. Croix.
On Friday, a Walk-a-Thon and Fun Day will be held on both St. Thomas and St. Croix.
The final activity of the week will be a Health Fair and Family Fun Day at Tutu Park Mall on St. Thomas that's to begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
Matthew also said the Health Department is in the process of implementing the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. From the Health Department's perspective, she said, this will ensure that patient information is kept private and spell out patients' rights to access their health records.
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