While local government policies can play an important role in promoting the health of communities, local government can't create healthier communities alone. It takes the combined effort of everyone, including local businesses, volunteers, organizations, schools, and health services to create a healthy community.
How can you tell if your community is a healthy community to live, work, go to school and raise families?
Healthy eating is the foundation for a healthy life and healthy communities are places where everyone has access to fresh, nutritious and affordable food.
- Does your town or city have community gardens where people grow their own fruits and vegetables? What about community markets where local growers showcase each season's abundance of tasty and nutritious food? Or picnic areas, where families can share a healthy meal outdoors?
Everyone deserves a healthy and smoke free play environment.
- In your community, are there shared areas such as playgrounds and skate parks where kids of all ages can play freely without breathing second-hand smoke or exhaust from engines?
Since many young people try smoking and quickly become dependent, education is crucial in deterring the next generation of smokers and ensuring a community is smoke free.
- Are there programs at school or in community centres to educate youth about the health risks of smoking and second-hand smoke?
Being physically active is essential to good health and their communities, in turn, will also prosper.
- Is your community a place where you can easily get from one place to another by walking or cycling? Walk and bicycle-friendly neighbourhoods improve the health and well-being of everyone.
- Can you easily access local recreation centers, parks and playgrounds?
People who feel a part of their community will thrive. Encouraging and providing opportunities for people of all ages to participate in physical activity are important elements of a healthy community.
- Does your community encourage opportunities for people to connect with others through shared activities and interests? Connection to school, family and community contributes to good mental health and is the foundation for overall health and well-being.
- Good mental health enables people to be creative, productive members of their communities and make healthy decisions about alcohol and other substances.
I love the idea of a healthy community! How can I get involved?
Individual residents can get involved and provide input through local community groups and public meetings. Non-profit organizations and other community groups, local business leaders, etc. can contribute and share their expertise with their municipalities to help shape the local priorities and solutions.