My vision of a healthy community would be a place where people are outdoors, physical activity is high priority.  Fast food establishments were very

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Tammy Wagner

 

 

 

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My vision of a healthy community would be a place where people are outdoors, physical activity is high priority.  Fast food establishments were very rare, people love eating at home, preparing food from their gardens.  Smoking was nonexistent.  Drug abuse was unheard of.  People knew their neighbors, waved at them and invited them to block parties,  and could trust them for a strong neighborhood watch.

 

This is a utopia community.  The word comes from the Greek, it means “no place” (Wikipedia website, 2017).  Utopia does not exist, however, there are communities that provide increased quality of life through the environment that people live in.  In 2014 Washington D.C. was the healthiest city to live in.    The determination is based on an American Fitness Index.  It is data using measures on how well a community serves the recreational and fitness needs of its residents.  A new measure was added in, “the walking score”.  The obesity rates and smoking rates were down in these communities.  Residents rates of heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and general health are also important.  Cities need to prioritize the health of its residents.  The cities culture and politics need to be at work supporting health and lifestyle changes.  As just one example of this, let’s look at parks. First place winner Washington spends $398 per resident on its parks as compared with Memphis, last ranked at #50, which spends just $26 per resident (Haiken, 2014).

 

What if your community does not match your ideal?  This gives opportunity to focus on policies that affect communities ‘physical, social, and economic environment.  Rates of asthma have been rising in the population of low-income and people of color disproportionally.  How do policy and community affect asthma?  Studies found a strong correlation between air pollutants and asthma.  Public policies determine air pollution tolerances and how much specifics will be allowed to determine what is air pollution.  Advocates make change, they work locally to educate and inform the public and policy-makers about asthma and the correlation between pollution (Bell & Standish, 2005, p. 340).  We can be agents of change to create the communities we want to live in and raise a family in.

 

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