According to World Health Organization, health is more than just the absence of a disease or disability. It is a state of total physical, social, and mental wellbeing. Peace, shelter, money, education, food, a stable environment, and sustainable resources are few prerequisites for good health. And a healthy community has ample of these needs for every member living within it. In addition, the focus of building healthy communities must be towards a view that analyzes health in the context of the social environment and policies that affect people. People living in areas with few public health and safety services and supporting social networks are more likely to be sick and experience high mortality rates.
Improving community health is a dynamic process. A healthy lifestyle entails more than just eating well and exercising often. To effectively address health concerns, understanding the link between wellness and components of the environment is significant. There are different aspects of a community that can emanate from your home, the school, or the gym you use. Moreover, living in a healthy community has several benefits, including better education, better physical and mental health, strong community support, and a safer and cleaner environment. With that said, here are some suggestions to help you get started in improving the community you live in:
Pursue a career in public health
If public health is the field of your interest, you might want to consider making a profession out of it. Nonetheless, you don’t have to have a medical background to work as a public health worker – but the experience will come in handy. Fortunately, the internet makes acquiring further education pretty easy for professionals. Individuals can enroll in online mph programs to learn newfound knowledge and work in careers ranging from community service to public health policy-making. As a public health worker, you can improve community health by developing and implementing plans for disease control and spreading awareness about issues such as STIs, obesity, substance abuse, road safety, and several other prominent public health concerns.
Trees benefit human health and wildlife by absorbing air pollutants and carbon dioxide, preventing climate change, and supplying oxygen. Therefore, plant more trees in your area (ideally native species that are well suited to your soil and climate) and invite your neighbors to do the same. Trees are a low-tech approach to energy conservation. They produce economic benefits, conceal noise and undesirable views, and prevent erosion. Not to mention, greenery has a soothing effect on the mind and can help to reduce symptoms of mental ill-health in individuals.
Litter is not only ugly, but it is hazardous to people and wildlife in the community. It serves as a breeding space for disease-causing microorganisms and can contaminate the water supply and air. Plastic can be a nuisance for drainage systems if not disposed of properly or recycled. Therefore, it is imperative to spread awareness regarding waste reduction, disposal, and recycling. Local authorities and people should ensure that their neighborhoods are clean by cleaning trash regularly. People should also be encouraged to reduce litter by using fewer of the things that end up as waste in the first place. Also, you can reduce waste by:
- using disposal bags properly
- reusing or repairing secondhand products
- not buying packaged goods
- using glass instead of plastic or metal
Conduct recycling drives
Recycling initiatives can help to foster a healthy and cohesive community. Once recycling material is collected, it can be processed into a valuable commodity. Used materials are turned into new goods when we recycle, minimizing the need to consume more natural resources and dump trash in landfills. Fewer landfills yield better property prices and satisfaction of knowing that your community is actively striving to reduce environmental damage. The energy required to manufacture new products from raw materials is significantly lesser when recycled resources are employed in the manufacturing process.
Volunteer activities that engage kids
Encourage children to spend less time on screens and be involved in healthy activities. Participating in local community events can increase confidence and self-esteem while also developing their abilities. In this way, kids will make social connections, benefiting both their mental and cognitive health in the long run. You can initiate by setting up a local environmental or cleanup group. Also, to encourage participation in teens, you can create an art space or a youth radio. Children can also learn by spreading awareness of environmental issues, bushfire recovery, refugee rights, and charities. Encourage teens and children to volunteer at shelters and nursing homes to build empathy and make them understand the importance of collaborative care.
Grow healthy food
Fruits and vegetables grown naturally without pesticides or fertilizers are better than frozen or processed food. If you cannot farm in your area, you can start a centrally located organic food market. These markets boost the availability of healthy, organic foods while simultaneously reducing the consumption of GM and processed foods in the community. Growing healthy food encourages healthy eating habits, raising healthy individuals in the community. Healthy eating habits help curb several acute and chronic medical conditions, eventually leading to improved quality of life.
Consider donating old clothes, items/gadgets you no longer use, and food to less-privileged people within your community. You can also arrange community events such as donation drives and curb-side free pick-ups to get everybody involved. You can also donate money to local charities and healthcare facilities to ensure that primary healthcare facilities are more accessible to those without health insurance.
Investing in making healthy communities has a positive return. Changing our educational institutions, healthcare facilities, and communities is a significant part of this endeavor to make adopting these habits easy for people. This article went over a few ways to improve community health. These include encouraging organic food consumption, planting more trees, pursuing a career in public health, volunteering, and donating. By following these tips, we can work towards building stronger and healthier communities for improved socio-economic development.