Relationship: Healthy Policies
Our health is determined in part by access to social and economic opportunities. The conditions in which we live explain in part why some Americans are healthier than others and why Americans more generally are not as healthy as they could be. The following maps were created to identify census blocks where these social determinant risk-factors are most prevalent.
Relationship: Access to Healthy Food
Lack of access to healthy food contributes to a poor diet and can lead to higher levels of obesity and other diet-related illness, such as diabetes and heart disease. The following maps were created to identify census blocks where it is more difficult for community members to access healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables.
Relationship: Access to Physical Activity
Improving access to places for recreation increases physical activity levels. Access is strongly associated with higher levels of physical activity and lower obesity rates, particularly among adolescents. The following maps identify physical activity resources and community members’ access to these places. Gaps exist in the population-dense communities that are not in close proximity or do not have walking access to places for physical activity.
Relationship: Active Transportation
Active transportation is any self-propelled, human-powered mode of transportation, such as walking or bicycling. 8.4% of Berrien County residents do not have a vehicle, and rely on active transportation and public transportation options. By making walking and biking safe and convenient, we can make it much easier for people to build routine physical activity into their daily lives while decreasing transportation burdens. The following maps identify populations most in need of active transportation options and the communities where potential non-motorized travel routes are more likely to be created.
Relationship: Healthy K-12 Schools
Health behaviors of adolescents who attend K-12 educational institutions are strongly influenced by the policies, practices, and environments of the school in which they are enrolled. Available data on K-12 policy/practices included whether or not the school has expressed interest in voluntary Michigan Team Nutrition standards and Safe Routes to Schools ® initiatives. Voluntary Michigan Team Nutrition standards focus on the important role of nutritious school meals, nutrition education, and how a health-promoting school environment plays a role in helping students learn to enjoy healthy eating and physical activity. There is strong evidence that Safe Routes to Schools programs increase the number of students walking or biking to school. Active travel to school is associated with healthier body composition and cardio fitness levels. The following maps identify k-12 schools within census blocks with higher social disparities that are most in need and more likely to implement Safe Routes to Schools programs or implement Michigan Team Nutrition practices.