Healthy Communities Goals

Quiz: Which community-level outcome will lead to lower rates of chronic disease, disability and premature death?

A. Increase physical activity levels
B. Increase fruit and vegetable consumption
C. Decrease tobacco use and exposure
D. All of the above

Of course, the best answer is D. These are the three goals of Michigan’s Building Healthy Communities program, a program of the Michigan Department of Community Health. Here are some local examples of MDCH-funded initiatives that support one or more of these goals.

Bike lane, westbound Sharon Avenue, Houghton, west of Agate Street

Houghton has made great progress toward becoming more bike- and pedestrian-friendly. With help from MDCH on technical assitance and training, Houghton passed a Complete Streets ordinance in December 2010. MDCH funding has also helped with paving and striping bike lanes, and signage for bikers and walkers. When communities are safer and more convenient for walking, biking and public transit, and accommodate users of all ages and abilities, residents find it easier to incorporate more daily physical activity into their routines.
 

Ryan Street Community Garden, Hancock

 
The Ryan Street Community Garden at Finlandia University in Hancock, a project of the Sustainable Keweenaw Resource Center, also received funding from MDCH’s Building Healthy Communities grant, as well as donations from many community partners. The garden gives residents of the neighborhood an opportunity to grow (and eat) more veggies, and is a showcase to the community on organic gardening and permaculture methods and benefits.
 

CLK Heritage Garden at the elementary school in Calumet

 
Notice the sign, “Our Garden is Smoke-Free” displayed at the CLK school garden.  When a child or family comes to the garden, they see this message and associate a tobacco-free lifestyle, eating healthy foods, and getting exercise (by gardening) as three components of a healthier community.
 
 
 
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