How can Californians live healthier when their communities make it difficult to make healthier choices in their daily lives? According to a new radio campaign from CA4Health and aired by the California Broadcasters Association, the solution is to work together at the local level to make changes that will make it easier for people to make healthier choices when it comes to their diet, physical activity, where they live, and how they manage their health.
The two organizations recently launched a public education radio campaign suggesting several ways that Californians can make that happen. Each of the spots in the campaign, which will air in both English and Spanish, opens with the same question: “How can we make healthy choices, when those choices are out of reach?”
The radio spots focus on the goals and strategies of CA4Health, a project of the nonprofit Public Health Institute funded by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s (CDC) Community Transformation Grant program to work with local health departments and community partners to make California’s rural and less populous counties healthier places to live:
• reducing consumption of sugary drinks by increasing access to healthier beverages including water,
• increasing physical activity through Safe Routes to Schools programs and more walkable/bikeable communities,
• reducing exposure to secondhand smoke by increasing access to smoke-free multi-unit housing,
• strengthening linkages to clinical services by increasing access to Community Health Workers and workshops for individuals living with high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol to help them better manage their chronic conditions.
“People living in rural and more remote parts of our state face unique challenges in terms of access to resources and information that can improve their health,” said Robert Berger, Program Director for CA4Health. “Our new partnership with the California Broadcasters Association and its member stations will play a critical role in using the power of local radio to inform and inspire community involvement and action.”
The issues highlighted in the education campaign are among the most important facing our state.
• Approximately nine million Californians live in apartments and other multi-unit housing, and studies show that being subjected to drifting secondhand tobacco smoke is a significant health hazard. The CDC estimates that exposure to secondhand smoke increases heart disease and lung cancer risk for adults by 20-30% and causes more severe and frequent asthma attacks for children.
• Sugary drinks are the leading source of added sugar in the American diet, a leading cause of the diabetes and obesity epidemics.
• The number of California students that walk or bike to school has declined by nearly half over the past forty years, depriving millions of children of a healthy source of daily physical activity.
“We are happy to help spread the word about how communities can become healthier places to live and work,” said Stan Statham, President and CEO of the California Broadcasters Association. “Our member stations serving these rural markets play a vital role in informing and educating their listeners and are embracing this opportunity to make a healthy difference in people’s lives.” Since the campaign began in January, more than 55 member stations have aired the English and Spanish language spots.