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8 Environmental Health Statistics Health Educators Should Know

The condition of our environment affects everything from personal health to world health.

From ozone alert days to food recalls, our public health system takes environmental risks seriously. And there’s good reason for that. According to the World Health Organization, unhealthy environments cause an estimated 12.6 million deaths a year worldwide.1 Ignoring environmental health can literally cost lives. But public health programs aren’t the only way we can lower risks.

In addition to the public health jobs focused on monitoring and mitigating environment health risks, we also need health educators capable of communicating the importance of healthy environments. The more educated the public is, the more likely people are to take risks seriously and make the changes necessary to improve their health. As part of its 2018 National Health Education Week, the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) compiled eight of the most important environmental health statistics that every health educator should know and be able to share.2 They are:

8 Environmental Health Statistics Health Educators Should Know

Facts About Our Air
  • Thanks to improvements in gasoline refinement and vehicle emission systems, combined emissions have dropped 69% since 1970, even as vehicle miles have increased 172%.
  • Radon, a natural gas from rock and soil, can get trapped indoors and cause lung cancer. This results in 20,000 deaths a year and costs the healthcare system $2 billion annually.
Facts About Our Water
  • Nearly 90% of Americans get water from their community water system, making the safety of those systems extremely important.
  • Providing clean drinking water results in a 10% reduction in diarrhea illness and saves the world $84 billion a year.
  • Thanks to regulations and the work of communities across the nation, the percentage of preschool children with detectable lead levels has declined from 88% to under 1% since 1980.
Facts About Our Food
  • Every year, one in six Americans gets sick from contaminated food.
  • Foodborne illness costs an average of $30 billion per year.
  • Reducing foodborne illness by 10% keeps 5 million Americans from getting sick each year.

How Can You Become an Expert in Health Education?

The statistics from SOPHE represent only a tiny portion of the information researchers have learned about environmental health. And environmental health itself is only one aspect of public health. In other words, there is a lot of information out there. And if we’re going to improve health, much of that information needs to be communicated to and understood by the public at large. The question is: What are the best ways to educate people about health? With a PhD in Health Education and Promotion, you can gain the knowledge you need to develop the answers.

From researching the best ways to plan, implement, and evaluate prevention programs and services to leading global health education programs, those who hold a PhD in Health Education and Promotion play a vital role in improving the health of communities and nations. It’s a great degree if you want to make a real difference. And thanks to online education, completing a public health PhD program is now more possible than ever before.

When you earn your PhD in health education online, you can complete your coursework from where you live. Plus, online health education degrees are geared toward working adults like you, allowing you to choose when in the day you attend class. This is why online learning makes so much sense for anyone seeking a health education and promotion degree.

A career in health education and promotion provides you the opportunity to help save lives—and you can have an even greater impact when you earn your PhD.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a PhD in Health Education and Promotion degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning format that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,