More sidewalks. Better access to public transit. Healthier neighborhood markets. Ensure the Maple Leaf Reservoir Park is smoke-free, well-maintained, and promotes a range of physical activity for children and neighbors.
Ask people if any of this is being done and many can’t answer. The truth is that a lot of this work is already underway. In 2010, King County received federal stimulus grants to address tobacco- and obesity-related diseases, two leading causes of preventable death in our county. A year later, there are now over 50 partners working to change Maple Leaf and other neighborhoods in King County so that residents have more healthy options and less unhealthy ones in their communities.
Led by Seattle – King County Public Health, these partners today launched Let’s Do This King County, a new campaign to educate residents about these policy changes that are happening and how they can get involved in the work ahead.
A sampling of new nutrition and physical activity improvements include:
- A total of 27 businesses have signed on to participate in Healthy Foods Here, a program to increase access to healthy food options through small corner and convenience stores.
- Bicycle Alliance, in partnership with Feet First, is working with schools to implement Safe Routes to School in six school districts in King County.
- More than 50 organizations have taken the Soda Free Sundays pledge.
- School districts are improving nutrition in their school meals and the foods sold in high school stores and fundraisers.
Tobacco prevention initiatives underway include:
- 46 publicly funded mental health and chemical dependency treatment agencies will integrate treatment protocols for tobacco addiction into their services and 38 of these will also be smoke-free by March 2012.
- Nine King County housing providers—including Seattle Housing Authority, King County Housing Authority and Housing Resources Group—plan to implement smoke-free policies by March 2012.
- Harborview and University of Washington Medical Center joined Highline Medical Center in implementing a campus-wide smoke-free policy and high-quality protocols for addressing tobacco dependence.
A full list of grantees is available at the Seattle – King County Public Health website.
Why is this work important? In King County, 20 percent of adults are obese and data from 2004-2008 show that 13 percent of adults smoke cigarettes. The health problems are even worse in South Seattle and South King County, where up to 31 percent of residents are obese and up to 20 percent of residents smoke.
The Let’s Do This campaign is using the below television ad, as well as videos, website and outdoor advertising to raise awareness about these health disparities — while also drawing attention to solutions.
Over the last few weeks, you may have seen a Let’s Do This billboard near the Maple Leaf neighborhood (On the Northeast corner on Lake City Way and 17th Ave NE — ironically placed across from 7-11).