A Healthier Long Beach Begins Today

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Healthier Long Beach Begins TodayApril 2 – 6, 2012 is National Public Health Week, and the City of Long Beach will be celebrating public health successes this week. Health Department officials will have informational displays in the City Hall lobby and main health facility.

“Public health is essential to a healthy City,” says Mayor Bob Foster. “We have demonstrated through multiple means our commitment to a sustainable and healthy Long Beach – making our City a great place to live, work and play.”

Catching and preventing illnesses and incidents before they occur is the key to improving the nation’s health. Public health agencies across the nation are participating in public health week to bring attention to the importance of public health programs to address the issue of prevention and wellness.

“The Long Beach Health Department strives to make the City a world-class healthy city. We encourage all residents to take advantage of the wonderful recreational opportunities the City offers, like swimming, biking, golf, walking, tennis, basketball, baseball and so much more. It’s fun, and it could improve your personal health,” said Ron Arias, Director of the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services.”

In the last year, Long Beach made several notable health achievements:

  • Heal the Bay’s 2011 Annual Beach Report on beach water quality indicated a significant improvement in Long Beach’s recreational water quality. The City’s water quality grades improved by an impressive 27 percent over 2010 grades.
  • The City of Long Beach became an official Let’s Move City, as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s national campaign to fight the growing childhood obesity epidemic and to promote good health and active living in Long Beach.
  • The City Council passed a motion to make all parks in Long Beach 100% smoke free, protecting the health and safety of visitors, residents, and employees from the dangers of second hand smoke. Long Beach restaurants are creating “fresh air dining” patios to provide smoke free environments for their patrons.
  • The City Council adopted a healthy snack food and healthy beverage vending policy to provide healthy options at City Parks, Libraries, and Health sites, and other youth oriented program locations.
  • The City was awarded a $1 million Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Zone Initiative grant from Kaiser Foundation Hospitals for a 3-1/2 year effort to support community transformation and ensure lasting changes to improve the overall health of the residents of North Long Beach.
  • A $2.4 million grant from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will help address lead hazards in low-income housing units in Long Beach over the next three years.
  • Youth who are aging out of the foster care system are now receiving project based housing choice vouchers, and have the option to move into a newly renovated Palace Hotel. This is an affordable housing facility owned by LINC Housing Corporation with case management services provided by United Friends of the Children.
  • The City collaborated with the Long Beach Veterans Administration to sponsor a landlord outreach program to house homeless veterans, and provided almost $1.6 million in rental assistance to homeless veterans.
  • The 8,000 whopping cough (pertussis) vaccinations given to children and caregivers through the City of Long Beach helped reduce the number of whooping cough cases in Long Beach from 69 in 2010, to 17 in 2011.
  • Three new locations were added to the City’s Healthy Corner Store Project, increasing accessibility to healthy and nutritious foods in the North Long Beach Area.
  • The City’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program opened a new site inside the Central Facilities Center located at 1133 Rhea Street, providing increased accessibility to clients and its surrounding areas.
  • The PEACE GARDEN, located at the Health Departments Central Facility Center, was awarded 2nd Place in the Neighborhoods USA (NUSA) Multi Neighborhood-Partnerships Category.

For more information on the Health Department, contact Michael Johnson at (562) 570-4012 or log onto www.longbeach.gov/health

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