Imagine living in a community where you can walk or ride your bike safely, where the air is fresh and clean, and where healthy food and opportunities for physical activity are easily accessible and affordable for all. Through the Healthy Communities Initiative, Interior Health aims to make this vision a reality.
Residents in the Interior are not as healthy as they could be. Over 80 per cent of us have at least one or more risk factors for chronic disease which include being a smoker, being physically inactive, eating an unhealthy diet, or being overweight.
Chronic diseases such as heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes are the largest cause of death in the region.
Fortunately, we can prevent or delay chronic diseases by changing those factors that put us at risk.
“We all know that healthy eating, being physically active, and not smoking can make us healthier but these changes can often be difficult to achieve on our own,” said Lex Baas, Practice Lead, with Interior Health’s Promotion and Prevention department . “When we live in a healthy community it is much easier for us to make healthy choices every day.”
The Healthy Communities Initiative strives to improve the health of residents through policy and environmental changes that help make the healthy choice the easy choice.
By partnering with local governments, Interior Health will help identify community priorities and develop action plans to address areas such as protection from second hand smoke, access to healthy food, the availability of parks and other green spaces, and opportunities for recreation.
“Many local governments have already been doing great work to improve the health of citizens,” said Baas. “Our Healthy Communities Initiative will not only help support this work – it will build upon it to ensure healthy living is top of mind when policy decisions are made.”
The Healthy Communities Initiative is part of the Ministry of Health’s Healthy Families B.C. strategy – a comprehensive health-promotion program to improve the health and well-being of all British Columbians and the communities they live in.
For more information on the Healthy Communities Initiative: http://www.interiorhealth.ca/YourHealth/HealthyLiving/Documents/Healthy%20Communities%20in%20Interior%20Health.pdf.