When you think October, you think candy, costumes and revelry. However, October is also Health Literacy month – an interesting pairing to say the least. The best thing about Halloween is all of the walking and running and laughing – basically fun in and of itself!
We need to make this kind of exercise available to all on a regular basis. If we’re ever going to turn the tide on the obesity epidemic, we need to find ways to make it easier and safer for people to walk, run, bike, and just get moving. Right now, about 23 percent of Americans say they do not participate in any form of physical activity and only about half of us reach the minimum recommended levels of exercise.
Clearly, people need to take responsibility for their own health – but it doesn’t hurt to get a little help from your friends, family, community or even the government!
Recently, Senator Tom Harkin introduced the Safe and Complete Streets Act of 2011 which will help the country get smarter about how we think about transportation projects — so we aren’t just focusing on planes, trains and automobiles, but also on ways to use our feet. The Act would ensure federal transportation projects are efficient and promote better health for all. Where we live, learn, work, and play all have a major impact on our health.
This Act is part of a broader movement within the federal government to focus on “health in all policies” – the notion that everything from education, transportation, housing, etc. has an impact on health. The government has begun to do its part to make it easier for individuals to make the healthy choices for themselves and their families.
The collaboration of different government agencies fits under the National Prevention Strategy (NPS) umbrella. The NPS, coupled with the Prevention and Public Health Fund – an historic investment in improving the country’s health and quality of life, reducing health care costs for families and businesses, and increasing productivity so the country can compete with the rest of the world – commits the federal government to doing its part to ensure all Americans have the opportunity to be as healthy as can be.
TFAH is committed to ensuring this strategy is fully implemented and that we build support for the movement around the country so we can fulfill the promise of a healthier America. Finally, the federal government its building awareness of how people can live a healthier and happier life.