Most people share a lot of things with the people in their community. You may have the same preference in sports teams, and your children likely go to the same schools. You might frequent the same restaurants, and run across one another at the grocery store and gas stations often. You may be surprised to find, however, that the things you have in common don’t just end there. I recently attended a presentation by Aetna and learned that another, much less trivial, thing you have in common with your community is your health!
Thank you to Aetna and The Motherhood for sponsoring this conversation. All thoughts are my own.
Sounds crazy, right? If you’re like me, you probably think that the health of yourself and your family is determined by the way you do things in your household… not what the rest of your community is doing around you. If that’s what you think then, like me, you’ll be surprised to learn that is not the case! According to the CDC, a person’s zip code is a greater indicator of their overall health than other factors, including race and genetics!
How are we measuring up?
Studies of American’s have revealed that while around 77 percent of us report being either somewhat healthy or extremely healthy, that isn’t the case. In fact, half of all American’s (117 million) had one or more chronic health conditions and one in four adults had two or more chronic health conditions as of 2012!
We have to take back our communities!
How can we do this?
We have to connect with others in our community! 94 percent of American’s say they’re willing to do something in order to have a healthier environment. We need to put our money where our mouth is, and encourage those in our community to do the same. It’s essential that we take steps to ensure the overall health of our minds and bodies.
Here are a few things you can do to improve your health:
- Exercise each day. Something as simple as a quick walk in the morning, or sitting or an exercise ball at work can go a long way towards improving your overall health.
- Drink more water and plan your meals. Keep a water bottle on hand at all times, and try adding a slice of lemon or cucumber to it as well!
- Take small breaks often, and allow your body to have a good stretch and a few deep breaths!
- No electronics at bed. Your body needs rest so turn off those notifications and put the electronics down an hour or more before bed time to help get the best nights rest.
- Get Involved. Including your friends and family in your healthy routines will not only help the both of you, it will keep you accountable.
Spread the Word!
Remember, this journey isn’t just about you. It’s time to start sharing this information with your community as well, so they can focus on their health too! The Aetna Foundation, American Public Health Association and the National Association of Counties have partnered together to creative the Healthy Cities and Counties Challenge! This will take a few cities around the U.S. and use them as innovators for a healthier America!
Healthiest Cities and Counties Innovator Cities:
Tulsa City, OK, San Diego, CA, Kansas City, MO, New Haven, CT and Cleveland & Cuyahoga Counties, OH
Stay tuned for more info on this challenge, how these cities are measuring up, and what ideas and programs they’ve created to help their cities! In the meantime, start finding ways to get your own community involved!
Have ideas for improving the health of your community? Drop a comment below!