By Rachel Beyer, NEP Community Wellness Coordinator
Purdue Extension Community Education Program
How does the built environment affect your health and well-being?
A Healthy Environment Offers More Choices
Public health research shows that our environment drives the choices we make on a daily basis. Road design, sidewalk and bike lane access, public transportation, and nearby parks all have a huge impact on our physical activity. And the location and availability of grocery stores, restaurants with healthy options, farmers’ markets, and community gardens all have a big influence on the foods we eat every day.
Gardening and Getting Groceries
Are there places to walk safely and comfortably in your neighborhood? Can you get to important destinations without a car? Is there a grocery near your home that carries fresh fruits and vegetables? Can you garden in your yard or at a park nearby? Does the vending machine at your office offer water and whole grain snacks?
We all need readily available healthy options around where we live and work, in order to make choices that are good for our minds and bodies on a regular basis. Without such options, people are more likely to develop serious lifestyle diseases like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease.
Eat, Gather, Go: Purdue Extension Nutrition Education Program (NEP)
Since 2015, the Purdue Extension Nutrition Education Program (NEP) has been working to improve access to healthy food and physical activity resources, particularly for low-income families, using a policy, systems, and environment change approach. NEP Community Wellness Coordinators around the state can work with local organizations and municipalities to help develop infrastructure and policy improvements. Sample projects could include:
- a new community garden start-up
- health coalition development
- school garden expansion
- active living workshop organizing
- school wellness policy improvement
- walking trail connector design
- complete streets ordinance advocacy, and more.
Healthy Choices: What Do Residents of Monroe County Need?
NEP Community Wellness Coordinator, Rachel Beyer, is currently working to identify potential food and physical activity project needs in the Monroe County area. She can assist with bringing stakeholders together, facilitating, fundraising, and initiative implementation. Do you an idea for a relevant project in your neighborhood or the wider community? Please contact Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-349-2575. Together, we can make the healthy choice the easy choice!
For more information, please visit: http://eatgathergo.org.