This infographic which displays the difference in what makes us healthy versus what we generally focus government funding on recently appeared in the Washington Post.
It brings up an important point in the healthcare debate. Access to affordable healthcare is necessary for economic security and emergency medical care, but access to healthcare alone will not make us healthier. The most important factor in improving or maintaining our health are the “healthy behaviors” we practice and the “Environments” we live in.
The Heart Network is focused on improving community health through policy changes and changes to the built environment which make it easier for everyone to practice these healthy behaviors. Our tobacco cessation program works with doctors to help them help their patients quit smoking. Our FitPix program is working to bring more fruits and vegetables to the forefront of convenience stores and restaurants. And our Rural Action Now program continues to advocate for better access to locations and ways to be active including improving streets and sidewalks and improving connections to recreation areas in North Country Communities.
Continued funding of programs such as those at the Heart Network is needed to ensure that environments which promote healthy behaviors continue to be included as part of the public health conversation.