For the past year, we have all been very energetic and vocal about politics and how best to fix our nation’s health care problems. The problems are very real, but where does this debating get us? Are we making a positive difference?
Rather than having political debates about how to fix the problems our nation faces, we should take action where we can actually make a difference — in our local community. This might seem obvious, but are we doing it? If community members were to combine their talents and resources to implement local, grassroots initiatives, our collective health (and country) would start to change for the better.
A great example is the Nutrition Habit Challenge, which starts Feb. 1 and runs through the month. The NHC is a grassroots, community health initiative aimed at helping the Centre Region practice healthy nutrition habits. In 2014 (its first year), 720 people participated by making a small dietary change and practicing this change for 28 days. Last year, 3,385 people participated, including more than 200 families. If the NHC helps even a small percentage of these people make meaningful, lasting change, it has made a significant difference in the overall health of our community.
The NHC does more than just allow people to practice healthy nutrition habits. It gives our community a chance to join together and promote healthy living practices. Medical professionals, business leaders, teachers and community members from all walks of life have joined together to promote the NHC simply because they believe in its mission. They realize that they have personal responsibility for the world we live in, and that they genuinely can make a difference here at home.
The NHC is an example that grassroots initiatives can succeed, but they require effort from the entire community. Consider your contribution to the health of our community — could you be doing more? If the answer is yes, here are a few suggestions:
▪ Start by promoting and participating in the NHC 2017. After all, you and your family are part of the community you are trying to help. Go to www.nutritionhabitchallenge.com and register. There is no registration fee and one lucky participant will win a trip for four to Disney World.
▪ Get involved with local organizations committed to grassroots missions. The NHC, Centre Volunteers in Medicine, Centre Moves and the Youth Service Bureau are good places to start.
▪ Get creative. The NHC is just one creative initiative. There are many bright minds in our community that can create effective, motivating initiatives.
Regardless of profession, health or social status, all community members have a responsibility to contribute to the good health of the Centre Region. For 2017, let’s be certain that we do.
Bruce Burke is Founder of One on One in State College, and co-founder of The Nutrition Habit Challenge. He can be reached at www.oneononefit.com.