Your agency is an integral part of a thriving community, but you’re interested in continually improving the quality of life. To that end, think for a moment about community wellness: healthy eating and active lifestyles for all! It seems easy enough, but obesity is fast becoming a worrisome trend. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), well over a third of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, a condition that can quickly lead to diabetes, heart disease, cancer and premature death.
Children and youth are affected by obesity, too. Almost a third of young people in the United States (nearly 23 million) are overweight or obese. Experts recommend at least an hour of moderate physical activity five times a week to achieve an active lifestyle, but only 36 percent of youngsters actually meet this requirement. Instead, American youth are spending four to five hours each day in front of a screen watching television, playing video games or surfing the Internet. It’s time for communities to come together to promote a more healthy way of life, and strive towards wellness together!
A number of communities around the United States have begun implementing wellness initiatives. You can do the same by increasing your agency’s community and partnership interaction in order to raise awareness about this important issue. Here are some ideas on how to do exactly that!
Partner with schools and nonprofits
Children and youth spend approximately 30 hours a week at school. It is an optimal environment to begin making small but lasting changes!
- Contact the local school district to develop a working relationship oriented on bolstering support for a lunch program with more fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Fight childhood obesity by encouraging your agency to support a local Boys and Girls Club by donating footballs, volleyballs or soccer balls that message healthy living.
Financial resources are scarce, but you do have property and personnel to further the cause! To fill in the gaps, identify private sponsorship opportunities with local businesses and stakeholders.
- Promote a community park, baseball diamond or swimming pool by helping to spread the word. Drum up support with something as easy as a banner near busy thoroughfares to remind residents about a season opening or upcoming event at a local recreational spot.
- Partner with local workforce development or human resource agencies to begin the conversation about community wellness, especially as it pertains to aging. Start with an informative event to generate awareness and thank participants with something small but practical like a water bottle!
- Put on a community-wide event like a walk or a 5K. Hand out pedometers to keep participants moving long after they’ve crossed the finish line!
Community wellness is about a healthy lifestyle, and a healthy lifestyle is about moving more and eating better. Your agency and others like it can help create affordable opportunities for physical activity and healthy food for everyone by working together to promote community wellness today!
"Adult Obesity Facts." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27 Apr. 2012. Web. 31 May 2012.
"Childhood Obesity." Health Policy. Web. 07 May 2012.
"Active Living." Leadership for Healthy Communities. Web. 07 May 2012.
"Social Environment." Leadership for Healthy Communities. Web. 07 May 2012.