Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Designing and Building Healthy Communities


Designing and Building Healthy Places

As the leading public health agency in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) scientifically considers all factors that affect the health of the nation. As we embark into the 21st century, the interaction between people and their environments, natural as well as human-made, continues to emerge as a major issue concerning public health.

Health and Healthy Places

According to the World Health Organization, health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of infirmity. A healthy community as described by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Healthy People 2010 report is one that continuously creates and improves both its physical and social environments, helping people to support one another in aspects of daily life and to develop to their fullest potential. Healthy places are those designed and built to improve the quality of life for all people who live, work, worship, learn, and play within their borders -- where every person is free to make choices amid a variety of healthy, available, accessible, and affordable options.

Health Issues as Related to Community Design

CDC recognizes several significant health issues that are related to land use, including--

by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC – safer, healthier people.

Sky Scrapers, Highways, and Booming Communities, are all the results and benefits of Urban Sprawl; but, for all of its advantages there is a downside…congestion, pollution, and the expansion of waistlines.

Now, imagine communities where work, shops, schools, libraries, and churches are all within walking distance. These communities are no longer a fairy tale; they’re a reality.

Walkable communities are the wave of the future. Emerging health evidence reveals work/live communities are some of the healthiest places to live.

Why? They promote walking more and driving less. Vehicles contribute about a third of greenhouse gas emissions in this country. Physical activity reduces heart and respiratory disease, cancer and other health risks.

By design, these communities also encourage socialization; therefore, creating a close knit feel.
The future is here and the way communities are designed will not only affect our future, but future generations to come.

For the most accurate health information, visit www.cdc.gov or call 1-800-CDC-INFO, 24/7

Healthy Community Design Streaming Video
Dr. Howard Frumkin, Director of NCEH/ATSDR discusses the benefits of walkable communities as they relate to health, the environment, and social interaction.

To download the video to your computer, RIGHT CLICK the appropriate file size below and select the "Save Target As..." option.

Additional Resources

Healthy Community Design Fact Sheet [PDF, 126 KB]
This fact sheet is an overview of Dr. Frumkin's Healthy Community Design discussion

Walkable Communities Podcast
This podcast discusses the benefits of walkable communities, as they relate to health, the environment, and social interaction.