Salt Lake County commissioners have proclaimed this week Public Health Awareness Week and encouraged residents to participate in health fairs being held at two local shopping malls.

The health fairs, sponsored by the Salt Lake City-County Health Department, will be at Cottonwood Mall on Wednesday and South Towne Mall on Thursday, from 2 to 8 p.m. in both locations.The fairs, whose theme is "Good health is more than good luck," will offer free blood-pressure checks and information on immunizations, hypertension, child-health exams, air and water quality, nutrition, smoking, asbestos dangers and on available health department programs.

In addition, blood cholesterol tests are available for $5. Flu shots will be available for $4 at the Cottonwood Mall health fair only 1-4 p.m. Dr. Harry Gibbons, health department director, said public health efforts like immunizations and ensuring safe drinking water are invaluable in halting diseases such as typhoid and diphtheria that scourged former generations.

Now, heart disease, high blood pressure and accidents are major public health concerns.

"We have to expand our efforts to help the individual learn about his own health and that prevention is the best medicine," Gibbons said.