Passing the BALL we are in this together

May 2016 Bienestar Newsletter

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May 2016

Your Health is Connected to Your Community’s Health

by Ana López van Balen, Executive Director of Bienestar

More than ever, we are learning that our individual health is connected to everything that is happening around us.  Though our individual decisions and behaviors do play a significant role in how our health evolves over time, it is not separated from our family choices, job opportunities available to us, and the communities we live in. 
For example, there are many examples of research that has tied air pollution with child asthma, or living in food deserts with obesity, which complicates the notion that improving what you eat is the only thing you need to do to improve your health.  This suggests that more is needed to improve health including your participation in the overall health of your community. 
You might be thinking, “what can I do to address environmental or other community issues in my community?”  This article hopes to help you understand the role you can play in the community issues that might be impacting your neighborhood or larger community.
Most community members are unaware of the processes and decision making taking place every day in their communities.  Local governments, schools, nonprofits and even businesses are working every day to make decisions that touch the lives of every member of a community.  It is hard to keep track of all of the meetings, hearings, and other related resources and documents that help capture these decisions but doing so, may reap great results.
Why is this important?  Because it is not uncommon for decisions to have unintended consequences that may have been avoided through broader community involvement, including involvement by faith-based organizations and other entities that are in tune with the challenges and opportunities of families who reside in the area.

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