Tennessee Celebrates Child Health Week
NASHVILLE – Governor Bill Haslam has proclaimed October 3-9, 2011 Child Health Week in Tennessee. State officials recently celebrated Tennessee’s highest-ever ranking for child well-being as part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KidsCount Data Release. On the heels of that announcement, Tennesseans are encouraged to put the health and well-being of children first during Child Health Week, and every week in the year ahead.
“During Child Health Week and every week, we need to be good role models for children in our state and support them as they grow up to be healthy, productive Tennesseans,” Haslam said.
“We all have a responsibility for keeping Tennessee’s children healthy,” said Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “Good health habits form very early in life, and we have to work deliberately and be examples to our children to help them learn and internalize good health habits from eating right, getting exercise and avoiding tobacco to wearing seat belts, brushing teeth and getting their immunizations. We need to encourage and lead our children towards good choices so they can grow up and live long, healthy and prosperous lives.”
This year’s Child Health Week theme is “A Healthy Tennessee Begins with a Healthy Me,” emphasizing the role of each individual in achieving good health for our state. In recent years, Tennessee has seen marked improvements in rates of infant mortality, teen births, childhood immunization and child deaths.
"Tennessee's children are our future," said Children's Services Commissioner Kathryn O'Day. "Parents, grandparents and extended family play an incredibly important role in shaping good health habits and healthy development for children. Good health habits set the stage for good emotional health and life-long success."
Tennessee has a longstanding history of leadership in child health. The nation’s first child safety seat legislation was passed in Tennessee in the 1970’s, and Tennessee has been recognized
recently for outstanding achievement in childhood immunization and in school vending policies.
“Collaborative efforts in both the public and private sectors are improving the lives of Tennessee’s youngest residents,” said Michael D. Warren, MD, MPH, director of Maternal and Child Health with the Tennessee Department of Health. “Programs like Newborn Screening, Home Visiting, the TN Initiative for Perinatal Quality Care and WIC support families, health providers and communities in keeping children safe and healthy. Child Health Week is an excellent opportunity to highlight the success of these and other initiatives and to explore ways to address other important health challenges.”
For more information about this year’s Child Health Week activities; resources for parents, schools and communities; and a list of local events, please visit http://health.tn.gov/MCH/CHW.shtml.