Posted By Monique Dever On November 4, 2014
Step-up to promote healthy choices and improve public health awareness.
In a previous blog I answered the question “What is Public Health?” In a nut shell, public health departments provide quality clinical services, provide safe environments, educate their communities and increase awareness. This is a huge undertaking for anyone. Fortunately, the community and other public agencies are responding, albeit slowly, and things are starting to take shape.
In the community, the convenience store giant, 7-eleven, is changing their tune with the help of P90X health and fitness guru Tony Horton, who has developed a line of food products with healthy choices; offering health and convenience all-in-one. Even McDonalds, Sheetz and other fast food chains are adding healthy to convenience.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is committed to ensuring that all Americans have access to safe, healthy, and affordable diets. They have tested a way of making fruits and vegetables more affordable for participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Under this “Healthy Incentives Pilot” (HIP) program, participants received financial incentives when buying fruits and vegetables. The result showed improvements for healthy choices, for this HIP pilot group.
No single solution will solve the health problems we are faced with as a community, but these and other such movements will certainly play a role in taking some of the “awareness” burden off the public health departments. The easiest thing you can do is spread the word! Whether it is individual-to-individual or an organization stepping up, it takes creativity to nudge people in the right direction, and we need to want to do this. The choice is yours, make it a healthy one.
Want to step up your efforts but don’t know where to begin? The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) has published a “how-to” guide for establishing private and public sector partnerships to maximize resources and encourage creative approaches. Need to get your creative juices flowing? Visit Healthy People 2020 to read “Stories from the Field” to learn what others are already doing.
Do you think convenience stores like 7-eleven help improve public health or is this just a marketing gimmick? What role do you individuals play to make healthy choices? What do you think? Do you have other resources or ideas worth sharing? Please comment.