Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Healthier Community

I went to a presentation by Dr. James Galloway the other day. It was in support of a pilot program in Chicago to “Build a Healthier Chicago”. Their website is worth a visit.

They are working to develop plans to improve the “pre-medical” parts of our healthcare crisis, as well as working with the more traditional outlets of medical care. They feel that our current situation can be summed up:
Physical activity (lack of), nutrition (unhealthy), and smoking are the three most important areas to target to improve the health of our nation.

I applaud their efforts and it would be great to bring a similar effort here and across the country.
The idea that individual health choices and personal behaviors are the most important determinants of chronic disease is an idea whose time has come…(George Menasah, MD)

But while individual choices are important:
…it is unlikely that individually attempted changes in lifestyles and behaviors alone can avert the growing epidemic of chronic disease that we are witnessing.

As long as a burger and fries are cheaper and more accessible than fruits and vegetables, as long as kids’ brains are bathed with seductive media blitzing in support of unhealthy diet and activity choices, as long as the community does not value and encourage healthier lifestyles, they will not happen. We need a community effort for a healthier community. We need to change our social norms to support/encourage a healthier (and safer) community.

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