Making Miami a Healthier Place to Live

In my endeavor to provide interesting and informative articles about the ins-and-outs of the dentistry world, I’ve broadened my horizons a bit to include general health topics, considering how closely linked oral health is with overall wellness.  Recently, I began searching for resources about health and wellness in the Miami area, and I came across a great source on the Miami-Dade County Health Department website.  The “Healthy Lifestyles Miami” portion of the site is specifically geared towards preventative measures that all people can take to ensure a happy and productive life.   Included is information about local initiatives along with a plethora of resources to encourage and support those interested in pursuing a healthier lifestyle.

The Make Healthy Happen Miami initiative was established by the Miami-Dade County Health Department (MDCHD), along with several community partners, to address the many health problems facing the city of Miami.  The goal is to ultimately make the Miami area an easier place to be healthy.  With that goal in mind, several projects have been underway across the city.  In order to increase access to healthy foods, the initiative promotes community farmers’ markets that provide local produce.  The program is even working with WIC and/or SNAP-approved convenience stores so that they may also sell fresh fruits and vegetables in high-need areas.   Make Healthy Happen Miami is also working with several childcare centers and schools to promote a healthy lifestyle with the children in our community.  Improving the quality of available food, implementing daily activity requirements, and limiting the time children have to watch TV or use the computer are just a few examples of the children’s programs.  By improving the physical environment around the city, the initiative hopes to increase active transportation and recreation, such as walking and biking.  An increase in bicycle racks and a county-wide signage system for bike lanes are being implemented to support this plan.  And there are many more projects currently underway, all working towards achieving the goal of a more health Miami.

In addition, the MDCHD website also includes several resources that support obtaining and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  With tips and assistance available on the cessation of smoking, eating a well-balanced diet, being more active, alcohol consumption, sun protection, health screenings, stress management, and more, the information on how to achieve a healthier lifestyle is just a click away.  The percentage of overweight and obese adults in the county is approximately 67%, a staggering statistic that is actually quite frightening.  By making small changes to your everyday life, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or eliminating soda from your diet, big differences can result.  The resources and support are out there.  The only question left is what are you waiting for?

Written by:  Mark Paulsort

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