It is essential to have access to places and opportunities that foster healthy eating and active living. Communities can shape our behavior and influence our health.

Active Living for Communities

Children and adolescents should be active for at least 60 minutes every day. Adults need 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity most days of the week. Maintaining these recommended levels of physical activity can help lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and many forms of cancer.

There are a number of things that communities can do to make it easier for individuals to be active:

  • Conduct Community-wide Campaigns
  • Make Changes That Make It Easier to be Physically Active
    • For example: provide funding to build and link sidewalks, crosswalks, and bicycle lanes; installing traffic signals to slow cars down and improve safety.
  • Help People Find Places Where They Can Be Physically Active
    • For example: Let community members and organizations use school gymnasiums, playing fields, and playgrounds when school is not in session; encourage community organizations to offer physical activity programs for youth.
  • Work With Schools to Increase Youth Physical Activity
  • Partner With Other Community Groups

Active Living Resources

Rural Health Association of Utah Annual Conference Webinar

Rural communities often have poorer health outcomes than non-rural communities. This is due, in part, to barriers to accessing healthy food, opportunities for physical activity, and mental health resources. The Rural Health Association of Utah works to address these barriers and provide a unified voice to promote and enhance the quality of rural health in […]

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Remaining Physically Active While Staying Home

Gyms, recreational facilities, schools, and extracurricular activities are cancelled. While we are all doing our part to stay home and maintain proper social distancing, it is important to be physically active. Physical activity improves muscle and bone strength, reduces risk of chronic disease, helps with healthy body weight, and improves mental health. Physical activity at […]

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Healthy Eating for Communities

The State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables (2013) reported that on average, American adults consume fruit only 1.1 times per day and vegetables 1.6 times per day. In Utah, a small percentage of adults eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables daily (34.2% and 17.5% respectively).

My plate (choosemyplate.gov) was designed to help individuals develop healthy eating habits. Individuals are encouraged to:

  • Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy
  • Select food and beverages that are low in saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars
  • Make small changes that will lead to a healthier life
  • Support others in improving their nutrition

Communities can improve access to fruits and vegetables in the following ways:

  • Identify areas in the community without healthy food retailers and develop initiatives to improve access to nutritious food in those areas
  • Work to increase the number of farmers markets that accept nutrition assistance program benefits
  • Assist existing retail venues in efforts to improve access to fruits and vegetables

Sources:
The CDC National Action Guide
CDC State Indicator Report
My Plate

Mental Wellness in Communities

Communities can work together to promote environments that support mental wellness and healthy lifestyles. According to the World Health Organization, mental health is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

Evidence shows that positive mental health is associated with improved health outcomes. However, only an estimated 17% of U.S. adults are in an optimal state of mental health. In Utah, adults reported an average of 3.4 mentally unhealthy days in the past month. Positive mental health allows people to:

  • Realize their full potential
  • Cope with the stresses of life
  • Work productively
  • Make meaningful contributions to their communities

Sources:
WHO:Mental Health
What is Mental Health?

Over 84 million Americans, or 1 out of 3 American
adults have prediabetes. Physical activity and
healthy eating are effective measures to reverse prediabetes.

Investing in active transportation, like walking and
biking, creates opportunities for people to be physically
active. It also reduces the risk for obesity and other costly
chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

On average, US youth consume 143 calories from
sugar sweetened beverages on a given day.

Those who consume the recommended amount of fruits
and vegetables have a reduced risk of chronic diseases,
including stroke, cardiovascular diseases, and certain cancers.

Utah has 54 million acres of public land, 5 National Parks,
43 State Parks, 14 ski resorts, and thousands of miles
of world class mountain bike trails. Get outside!