Healthy environments are essential to reversing the childhood obesity epidemic. When children have safe places to walk, bike and play in their communities—like parks, playgrounds and afterschool programs—they are more likely to be active and less likely to be obese. When communities have access to healthy, affordable foods, families eat better. Even the best efforts to encourage families to exercise more and eat better won’t work if their communities don’t support healthy lifestyles.
When we invest in disease prevention, the benefits are broadly shared. When children grow up in communities, homes and families that nurture their healthy development, they can become productive and healthy adults. Businesses benefit from investing in disease prevention because a healthier workforce can reduce long-term health care costs and increase stability and productivity. Furthermore, communities that offer a healthy, productive and stable workforce can be more attractive places for families to live and for businesses to locate.1
Everyone has a role to play to increase opportunities for healthy living and to reduce childhood obesity, including parents, leaders from all levels of government, schools, health care professionals, faith-based and community-based organizations, and private sector companies. Your involvement in building healthy communities will ensure a healthy future for our children.
As a local elected official, you can get started by signing up your city, town or county here.