Chapter

Healthy and Accessible Communities

Lisa I. Iezzoni and Bonnie L. O'Day

in More than Ramps

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195172768
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199865710 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195172768.003.0016
 Healthy and Accessible Communities

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The community environments within which people live have enormous consequences for their health. This chapter reaches beyond health care settings into communities to explore briefly those attributes that make communities safe and welcoming to persons with disabilities, and that allow all residents to participate fully in community life. It argues that demographic imperatives force the need for greater public policy focus on making accessible built environments. With an aging population and growing rates of obesity, along with declining rates of physical fitness, planners should emphasize building environments that support independent living and promote physical activity, healthy eating, and other positive health-related behaviors. Healthy built environments can improve not only physical health but also mental health, over the life span. The chapter briefly reviews examples from other countries of efforts to construct walkable communities and discusses challenges to bringing those changes to the United States.

Keywords: disability; public health; healthy communities; built environment; accessibility; physical activity; obesity; population aging; health-related behaviors

Chapter.  5397 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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