How Community Planning Can Benefit Health

by Senator Ross Romero
Senate District 7

Senator RomeroI am writing to address the problems of obesity and to offer some solutions. Nearly 2/3 of the American population is overweight or obese, and physical inactivity is responsible for an estimated 200,000 deaths per year. I contend some of the solutions to obesity lie with community planners in designing communities which are walkable, have trail opportunities, bike lanes, parks, schools and retail space. There are other solutions which require parents and other community participants. Parents and lawmakers can insist on having healthy snack alternatives in vending machines in our schools, encourage walking to and from school and talking with our youth about why it is important to eat healthy. Just as we condition our children to buckle their seatbelts when they first get into the car, we should be encouraging our children to think about eating more healthy and spending some time during the day exercising.

I was reminded about the importance of developing an active living community when I recently participated in the Salt Lake County tour which included visiting the Daybreak community. The Daybreak community is a good example of integrating healthy living and exercise into the development of a community. I would encourage you to consider looking at opportunities to add your voice to creating more active living places to work and live as the Daybreak community has done.

Finally, I encourage you to review the website This website was brought to my attention as a state legislator, and I thought it was worth passing on to encourage further discussion about how to make our communities more active and healthy.

One thought on “How Community Planning Can Benefit Health

  1. I agree with your suggestion for walkable communities. The benefits will definitely be fewer overweight people, but also cleaner communities (less driving means less pollution) and more enjoyable communities.

    It seems like historical zoning laws caused a lot of the problems that we are just getting around to fixing today. Zoning traditionally isolated residential neighborhoods from commercial neighborhoods instead of letting people live and work where they wanted to. Home, shopping, and work can often very successfully be in close proximity to each other.

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