Health: A Balance of Limiting and Creating Access

Posted by: | July 21, 2011

Recently I came across a study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine that concluded that the weight of teenage women is influenced by the number of convenience stores in her neighbourhood.  While we don’t want to assume that one study should be applied to all, sometimes I see studies (like this one) which just makes common sense.  The finding from this study comes as no surprise to me, since a lot of my work is actually about maintaining and expanding access to options that  allow for us all to be healthier (and also vice versa: minimizing access to options that detract from others’ health).

Health seems distinctly related to access, such as be able to access options in front of you that are healthy.

I know, for example, that my food choices are greatly impacted by my community.  I go out of my way not to frequent restaurants that serve mainly food that I’m allergic to (e.g. Italian and French cooking tell to kill me off, because I’m allergic to dairy).  I adore those people in the restaurant business that understand how they can influence their entire community- how the food they serve can be healthy and taste amazing, while at the same time meaning that their regular customers will be healthier happier people.

I also know that if I buy, for example, a box of Fudgee O’s or a chocolate bar, that it will be gone within a day or two. It’s rather disgusting.  There are rare times, however, that I lie in my bed, feeling like my life has become unfulfilled because I didn’t polish off a box of cookies!  So not stocking them in my house certainly doesn’t take anything away from my life!

So when you’re thinking of your health, I wonder what are you fighting to maintain access to (like me, fighting to go to restaurants that will offer food to support my health), or fighting to reduce access (like me, fighting to not buy that box of Fudgee O’s).

Filed under: Suzanne Jolly | Tags: , , , , , , ,

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