The communities where we live, work, learn and play greatly affect our ability to be active and to eat well which ultimately impacts our health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) chronic diseases affect almost 50% of Americans and account for 7 of the 10 leading causes of death in the US.
People who suffer from chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, obesity, and arthritis can be limited in their health, activity, and work, affecting the quality of their lives and the lives of their families. Two of the top three causes of these chronic conditions are physical inactivity and poor nutrition. When people engage in healthy behaviors such as being physically active and eating nutritious foods they reduces their risk for illness and death due to chronic diseases.
The Western Kansas Community Foundation in partnership with the Finney County Community Health Coalition has launched a health initiative called LiveWell Finney County to help promote healthy community designs that encourage increased physical activity. Partial funding for this initiative was provided by the Kansas Health Foundation, through which Community Mobilizer, Pat Veesart, was hired and tasked with keeping the leadership team focused and moving forward.
The other important partner in this initiative is the City of Garden City, which provided both dollars and infrastructure matches in the form of new sidewalks with the recent grant award of Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS). Sidewalks serve a safe connection point from neighborhoods to schools and provide an opportunity to be active.
Many visitors to Garden City are amazed at the amount of our sidewalks, trails and parks. Although this initiative has just begun we are excited with the progress that has already been made, over this next year we will be bringing attention to crosswalks and how we can increase safety and visibility for both drivers, walkers and bikers.
Like the Finney County Community Health Coalition on Facebook (LiveWell Finney County) and get updates on what’s happening along with some great tips. For more information, or to find out how you can get involved call the Finney County Community Health Coalition (LiveWell Finney County) at 620-765-1185 or the WKCF at 620-271-9484.