US life expectancy is facing a sharp decline hitting a low of 76.1 years for Americans born in 2021. The stats suggest a significant reason behind this is an increase in chronic and mental illnesses.
Around 133 million suffer from at least one chronic illness. These include heart disease, hypertension, liver disease, arthritis, and many more. It is high time we acknowledge the need for quick action. Even though the health department is working at its full potential, community health continues to decline.
Disappointing results will continue to be a product of our continued reliance on the health sector. We must target the root. Taking a communal approach might prove effective at this point.
Hence, we have prepared a list of ways communities can improve health worldwide. Continue reading to see how you can create an impact.
1) Asses the decisions of the officials in your area
The first step to bringing change is to understand the current situation. You must assess the current position of the community and the decisions officials have made for it. These include building parks and walking or cycling trails to promote physical activity. You can enroll in one of the CEPH accredited schools if you are passionate about initiating public health programs.
Accredited schools ensure that the standards for quality remain high and the criteria are met across all institutions. It will lead to a better knowledge of how communities can move to a healthier lifestyle.
2) Begin when they are young
This advice is more on a personal level. It targets parents instead of members of a community. Children begin forming habits at the age of nine. This time is the most vital in shaping their personalities and lifestyles.
Parents must realize their responsibility in raising children who grow up to be healthy community members. The primary socialization at home is where most children learn things. For example, get them in the habit of having a loaded breakfast or being physically active and eating healthily.
You can do this by being a role model for them to learn through imitation. Moreover, having family time is essential for parents to stay updated about their children’s activities. You will get to know about the things they indulge in and the struggles they are facing. It can be anything from getting bullied at school to substance abuse. Remember that physical health is just as important as mental health.
3) Bring positive changes to schools
Schools play a vital role in the health and fitness of future youth. Children spend much of their time in educational institutes. The practices followed in schools must be in line with a healthy lifestyle.
Begin with introducing healthier cafeteria lunches. Include foods that are high in proteins and calcium. Fruits and vegetable sides should be made interesting. Most students prefer a bowl of mac n cheese over any of this. However, this is where the kitchen staff needs to get creative. The key here is to make healthier options look and taste appetizing.
Moreover, awareness seminars regarding a healthy diet, exercise, and dental hygiene can be helpful. It is necessary to provide reasoning behind why all this is important. The negative consequences of ignoring such advice might encourage them towards a healthier lifestyle. Ensure that these awareness campaigns are easily comprehensible and reiterated usually.
Sports competitions can motivate children to be physically active. They will instill a sense of competition, encouraging them to be as good as possible. Incorporate a mini-exercise plan at the beginning of gym lessons. It will teach students how to work out even when they are at home.
4) Community workouts and challenges
It is easier to stick to a healthy routine when others accompany you. The main idea of holding workouts for a community in nearby parks is to motivate everybody to join. It becomes less daunting when others have the same experience as you.
The rise in obesity and illnesses is alarming. There is a need for people to initiate community workouts to get everybody moving. It can be a cycling session, yoga, pilates, or Zumba. There can be a distinction between exercises for different age groups to ensure they are safe for all.
Challenges like racing, badminton, volleyball, or any other competition can be socially and physically beneficial for all members. It will foster engagement in society and fulfill the purpose of a physically active lifestyle.
5) Fight against drug abuse
More than 20 million people in the United States suffer from a substance disorder, most common in late teens and early adulthood. The causes can be anything from depression and anxiety to boredom.
It is high time that communities create awareness about getting help for such habits. Even victims find it difficult to reach out for help due to the stigma around it. Communities must break down contemporary beliefs.
Offering assistance to victims should be a community’s priority. Create rehabilitation centers and awareness campaigns so all can benefit through professional advice.
6) Create spaces for enjoyment
Parks and other open spaces close to nature are just what communities need. The lack of safe walking and meeting places makes it difficult for people to leave their houses. A community park will encourage people to spend their evenings interacting with other members.
It will allow people to jog, exercise, and share their thoughts with others. Doing this will lead to a tighter social bond, not to mention the physical and mental health benefits it will bring.
You can contact your local officials to build a park for the community. Hire professionals for the logistics and layout. Include facilities that cater to people of all ages and abilities.
7) Create awareness about health screenings and vaccinations
There has always been an apprehension against health screenings and vaccinations. People find them an unnecessary expenditure. It is the community’s responsibility that all members are aware of the benefits both of these bring. They are vital for catching illnesses early and preventing them from happening.
You can set up screening and vaccination facilities nearby. Even mobile vaccination trucks can be helpful.
It is reasonable to state that recruiting a large number of supporters is never an easy undertaking. People with various personalities and attitudes find it challenging to commit to a sincere growth strategy. But keep in mind that every attempt should serve society as a whole.
Moreover, begin at a personal level. Success will be exponential if all individuals start at a smaller scale and move their way up.