The days are longer, children are out of school, vacations are around the corner, and we’ve hit the full swing of summer. As July is National Parks and Recreation Month, it is a great opportunity to focus on the impact of the built environment on community health.
The County Health Rankings evaluate the built environment because we know that where we live affects our health. Research indicates that access to places for recreation is associated with higher rates of physical activity and lower rates of obesity. Similarly, communities with more fast food restaurants and less access to grocery stores have higher rates of overweight and obese residents and premature death.
Next time you head outside, take a look around your community. Are there places for children to play and adults to walk? Are places with fresh fruits and vegetables nearby? Visit the County Health Rankings to find out where your community ranks in these areas. To find out more about the steps your community can take to improve on these related health factors, check out what works for health and take action.