Your health, physical and mental, depends on many factors. Such as your genes, activities, habits, behavior, etc., but there is also another factor that is often ignored. That factor is your neighborhood. Basically, where you live consists of socioeconomic factors that hugely affect your health and even your lifespan to a significant degree.
There is a famous saying that your zip code impacts your health more than your genetic code. If your neighborhood has limited access to healthy food stores, parks, and nearby hospitals; and if there are busy roads, pollution, prevalent crimes, etc. All this hurts your health. An unsafe and unhealthy neighborhood leads to stress, poor health conditions, and different diseases.
Just as the environment inside our homes influences our health, so does our neighborhood. If your neighborhood is hurting your health, here are five things you can do to make your neighborhood a healthier place.
1. Observe and Report Problems:
It is crucial to observe and identify the issues first so that you can find their solutions. Look around the neighborhood and see if some roads need fixing, if there is damage on a sidewalk, and if sewage systems are working properly. Call the municipality or the relevant person in charge when there seems like a hazardous situation. In case of heavy traffic, ask them to install ‘stop’ or ‘school’ signs and appoint more traffic control officers.
See if healthcare is accessible. Demanding to establish a good clinic in your area should be your priority. A healthcare center with expert staff can change your neighborhood’s fate. Good health workers with updated educational qualifications like an MPH online degree can collect health data from your community and assess it to suggest relevant policies.
Look for any unused assets like parks, for example, and ask the local authorities to invest in them and make them available for children.
2. Team Work is Dream Work:
There is no limit to what people can achieve if they work towards a goal together. Involve your entire community in improving the health situation of your neighborhood. Taking the initiative can be daunting, but these efforts will give you big results. Make the entire neighborhood take part in healthy activities together. A neighborhood can join hands to make different crews, such as a cleanup crew. This crew should clean up the litter from sidewalks and roads. You can all take part in group activities such as walking, exercising, bicycling, jogging, etc.
Arrange events to raise awareness about health situations. This way, you get to contact your neighbors, and everyone gets to know each other better. You can even gather together online to discuss issues and suggestions, thus making everyone take an active part in ensuring this goal.
Also, identify the needs of your neighbors and volunteer to provide necessities, like nutritious foods, to less fortunate people in your community. It is crucial to meet everyone’s needs for a healthy neighborhood.
3. Focus On Children:
Children are our future; making them realize the importance of living in a healthy environment is the key. Teach them about keeping the environment clean in fun ways. You can also use online platforms for this purpose.
Read for them at a local daycare or school. Encourage them to take part in healthy outdoor activities and develop exercise habits. There must be parks for kids to play in; they need to have a place to go, have fun, and be active. Also, try to develop their interest in studying in the field of public health. Your next public health policy maker might be here among you.
4. Community Gardening:
Gardening is one of the most fruitful hobbies, and what better if it improves health? Processed or junk food from stores and restaurants is very harmful to one’s health. If there are not many healthy options in your neighborhood, get into gardening. This is the best solution, as you will produce fresh food free of chemicals and harmful preservatives.
You can simply do this in your backyard, but why not involve and encourage the whole community? This way, everyone can take part in community gardening and improve the outlook of the neighborhood while also being active and getting healthy food. You can also donate your harvest to NGOs or food trucks to help others. This is a pleasant hobby that makes you relaxed and creative.
5. Community Health Challenges:
A fun way to improve the health situation around the neighborhood is to launch a community health challenge. It is a media strategy to achieve health-oriented goals. You can partner up with relevant media houses or organizations and set up any kind of health challenge for your community. It could be about running a marathon, specific training, buying and eating healthy, etc., which are fun ways to get people’s attention to this crucial matter.
With such activities, people get awareness about health through radios, bulletins, and newspaper ads. Moreover, people receive resources, incentives, and education on how they can reach that goal. Thus, it has a lasting effect. People get to enjoy themselves, build a stronger bond, and learn how little changes can lead to big positive health effects. People invite friends and family, and thus more people get involved in interesting activities.
Just like you work out to improve your fitness level, you should make efforts to improve the health situation in your neighborhood. Follow these five tips and make your neighborhood healthier for everyone.