Changing our health means ensuring conditions where everyone has the opportunity to be healthy. We all have a role to play:
Health must be a priority in designing our communities, from healthy housing to parks and playgrounds. Walking and biking must coexist with cars and public transportation. We need lower levels of violence and crime so everyone can safely live, work, learn and play. Support farmers markets and local businesses that value health, such as retailers that don’t sell tobacco.
Help all Americans achieve at least high school graduation
Education is the leading indicator of good health, giving people access to better jobs, incomes and neighborhoods. Call for policies that start with early school success and lead to higher on-time high school graduation rates. Be a champion for school-based health centers in your local schools. Become a mentor — you can make a difference!
Increase economic mobility
The science is clear: Poverty and poor health go hand-in-hand. It’s time to fix our country’s growing income inequality and the unhealthy stresses it puts on adults and children. Support policies that ensure a living wage and remove barriers that make it harder to advance to higher incomes.
Ensure social justice and health equity
Everyone has the right to good health. We must remove barriers so everyone has the same opportunity to improve their lives and their health. Speak out against racism and an unequal criminal justice system. Demand a fair allocation of community resources. Fight against the trend of growing voter restrictions. Everyone needs a voice in improving our communities.
Give everyone a choice of safe, healthy food
Our food system should provide affordable food with nutritious ingredients, free from harmful contaminants. For many families, eating healthy is a daily challenge. Call for policies that help eliminate food deserts and bring healthy food to all neighborhoods and schools. Support measures like menu labeling that help people make healthier choices. Start a community garden. Volunteer for a local food bank!
Prepare for the health effects of climate change
Our health is connected to our environments. What happens upstream in our environments affects our health downstream. Support policies that protect the air we breathe, both indoors and outdoors, and the clean water we drink. Policies that protect our health from natural and manmade weather events and disasters are just as important. Support efforts that help communities prepare for and adapt to the health impacts of climate change.
Encourage healthy behaviors and choices
Avoid using tobacco, alcohol and other drugs. Eat healthy foods and exercise. We need to make these and other healthy choices for ourselves. But it doesn’t stop there – we need to work together to create communities that make the healthy choice the easy choice for everyone.
Provide quality health care for everyone
Health reform was just a start. To fulfill its potential, we must continue to pursue options for expanded access to quality care at the federal, state and local levels. But we also need to shift the main focus of our health system from one that treats illness to one that equally emphasizes prevention.
Strengthen public health infrastructure and capacity
Strong and consistent funding levels are necessary for the public health system to respond to both everyday health threats and unexpected health emergencies. Support higher budgets for key public health agencies like the CDC and HRSA. These agencies strengthen the public health workforce and are a major source of funding for state and local health departments and programs.
Source: National Public Health Week