The community an individual lives in can have influential factors on his or her health. Healthy foods and quality housing should be available, and crime, violence and low environmental quality should be avoided to ensure a lower risk of negative health impact.
Access to Foods that Support Healthy Eating Patterns
Many individuals live in rural, low-income areas miles away from a supermarket. However, these locations may not be reported as food-deserts because small corner grocery stores — only selling packaged foods — are considered the same as larger grocery stores. It’s hard to eat health when you don’t have access to healthy foods.
Crime and Violence
Individuals can be exposed to violence in many ways: victimized directly, witness or hear about crime and violence in their area. Exposure to violence at a young age may been seen well into adulthood, with greater risk for behavioral problems, substance use and anxiety.
Water and air quality in a location are highly connected to an individual’s health. Water systems must comply with the EPA’s rules to not expose entire populations to toxic levels of copper and lead. The impact of outdoor and indoor air quality can lead to higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death.
Quality of Housing
Our homes themselves can be harmful. Many houses in America have serious health and safety hazards. Substandard housing has negative health outcomes. Issues like pest infestation and lack of insulation can be detrimental.
To learn more, visit the CDC website.