Organizations Unite to Promote Healthy Communities

"The environment in which we live, work, and play has a profound effect on our health," said Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, M.D., executive director of the American Public Health Association. "If we hope to improve the health of our nation, we must create places that safely encourage physical activity and enhance our well-being."

Several public health organizations are behind a "Joint Call to Action to Promote Health Communities" that was launched April 3 as part of National Public Health Week. They support more aggressively addressing negative health factors such as obesity, diabetes, and asthma and also healthier, more walkable communities.

The allied groups, including the American Public Health Association, American Institute of Architects, American Society of Civil Engineers, and U.S. Green Building Council, comprise some 450,000 professionals "who recognize that the built environment — the way a community is designed and built from its buildings and public spaces to how we travel between communities — is a key determinant of health," and that collaborating will create new momentum toward these goals, according to APHA, which adds that viable solutions could include multi-use pathways for walking and biking, affordable transportation and transit-oriented communities, green infrastructure, and more efficient use of land, water, and resources.

"The environment in which we live, work, and play has a profound effect on our health," said Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, M.D., executive director of the American Public Health Association. "If we hope to improve the health of our nation, we must create places that safely encourage physical activity and enhance our well-being. This effort to inspire greater collaboration among public health and built environment practitioners is a smart, innovative approach to building healthy, high-performing communities."

The "Joint Call" addresses four key points:

  • Creating and fostering partnerships that advance health
  • Building and understanding health data and establishing measurable health objectives for plans and projects
  • Advancing policies, programs, and systems that promote community health, well-being, and equity
  • Communicating the importance of health

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