Vision: Healthy environments supporting active, healthy people.
For the first time in our nation's history, our children are at risk of having shorter, less healthy lives than we do. Rates of obesity, diabetes, asthma, heart disease and other chronic diseases are skyrocketing. Many of these diseases are directly linked to the environments in which we live. Read the National Association of Counties report on what County governments can do to try to reverse these trends.
We must begin to work for change for our children's sake, and our own. We can create active living communities that promote the heath and well-being of everyone in Ventura County. Active living communities make it possible for people of all ages and abilities to be physically active on a routine daily basis. Public Health can be a partner in creating communities that encourage active living by helping develop:
- Healthy transportation that focuses on bicycle- and pedestrian- friendly design that makes it easy, safe, and attractive to bike and walk in our neighborhoods
- Mixed-use development makes it possible to live, shop and work in an area you can reach on foot or by bicycle, reducing your driving time.
- Increase availability of recreational facilities
- Help community members become leaders in promoting healthy and active lives
- Resources to help community leaders improve active living and healthy eating opportunities
- "Walkable neighborhoods"
- Funding and promoting for active living programs
- Access to healthy foods
- Ventura County Farmers' Markets Resources
- Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's report on Preventing Childhood Obesity
- Decrease time spent in activities like watching TV and playing video games
The Local Government Commission's Toolkit provides ideas for planning for healthy lives. They state that this requires "complete and integrated communities containing housing, shops, work places, schools, parks and civic facilities essential to the daily life of the residents."
If you're over 50, you need to get up and get out too. Read the "National Blueprint: Increasing Physical Activity Among Adults Age 50 and Older".
What is our logic? Click on this link to find out how our environment impacts our health.
By including health considerations in neighborhood planning, we can create communities that more successfully serve the needs of those who live and work within them.
How Can I Improve my Neighborhood?
Each of us can become a community leader. Change does not start "from the top," it takes all of us to make it happen. Begin by getting informed. Read the guide to Leadership for Healthy Communities. To get an overview of why we need to start making practical changes to improve the health of everyone in our communities. You will also want to read the guide to changing public policy to increase Increasing Healthy Living opportunities.
Take a walk! Then take this survey to find out how walkable your neighborhood is and ways to improve it.
Download and print this "Community Assessment Tool," get together with some friends, go into your neighborhood and fill out the questionnaire as you walk around. You will discover how "user friendly" your neighborhood is, and learn ways you can begin to make a difference for yourself, your family and your friends.
The built environment is one part of our overall environment. For more information on the impact of our global environment on our health, visit our Global Warming and Public Health web site.