When you ask someone if they are healthy, their initial reaction is to think about their physical health. For the most part, people never take into consideration their mental health when they are asked this question. When in reality, your mental health can potentially kill you faster than your immediate physical health. The way we live as a community can affect our health a lot more than the average person would think.
The three main things that contribute to how healthy a community is involves acute disorders, chronic disease, and wellbeing. Acute disorders are diseases such as ebola that kill you fast but most of the time we have resources out there to combat the disease. Chronic disease are disorders such as diabetes that kills you slowly if you don’t make changes in your life to stop it. Wellbeing includes mental health, safety, and stress which all are outcomes to how we feel about the other two contributors.
In order for a community to be healthy they must be aware of the determinants to health which include physical/social environment, lifestyle/health behaviors, medical care, and genetics. If you take a look at the neighborhoods with low life expectancy, they are all lacking in those areas. The top detriments in these low life expectancy areas are the lack of healthy food options, stress, and bad education.
Similar to other problems we have concerning the environment, I think a major part of this complication stems from bad education. If the people living in these communities got a better education, they would not only have better jobs that could provide them with more money to buy fruits and vegetables, but they could also be educated on the importance of having a healthy diet. However, whether you live below the poverty line or are wealthy, all Americans should have access to healthy foods. Nevertheless, this is a tricky problem to solve because you can’t just tell someone they can’t open a business that sells junk food, but you also can’t force healthy foods into a community. Regardless, everyone should have the opportunity to live a healthy lifestyle.
How can we ensure that every community has a place to purchase healthy foods?