MARQUETTE — From informing the public about potential health hazardous situations to making sure that well water is safe to drink, public health departments are heavily involved in every community.

Public Health Awareness Week began on April 4th. According to the Center for Disease Control, life expectancy here in the United States has increased sixty two percent from the year nineteen hundred to two thousand.

Dr. Terry Frankovich of the Marquette County Health Department says she’s watched a number of things change over the years, including safety measures when it comes to driving or riding in a car.

“When you start to get discouraged about the slow progress of things, I look at the issues like seat-belt use. I watch kids learning to drive and it’s just an automatic for them to put their seat-belt on when they get in the car,” said Frankovich. “That’s an amazing change in a relatively short period of time. Same thing with tobacco; we’ve dramatically decreased the number of people using tobacco in this country.”

Frankovich added that tobacco use and obesity prevention are two of the biggest challenges public health departments face going forward.