Opinion: Start new healthy activity on National Rural Health Day
To the Editor:
More than 61 million Americans live in a rural setting. The beautiful landscape makes it a wonderful place to call home. Unfortunately, that same benefit is also the reason we face certain challenges. Compared to cities and suburbs, we are at a logistical disadvantage; we do not have the same opportunities as those in more populated areas. Because of this, our health outcomes are affected more by our zip code than our genetic code.According to the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, St. Lawrence County ranks as one of the least healthy counties in New York. This ranking is based upon a handful of health factors, with the greatest burden being only 42% of residents have adequate access to physical activity (residing within three miles of a park or recreation facility). This is considerably less than the state average of 88% and the national average of 80%.
Thursday, November 17th is National Rural Health Day, a day to celebrate the resilient spirit of those living in rural America. On this day (and everyday), we should take small steps towards improving our health. Try to plan at least one new healthy activity for yourself and your family. Take to social media and thank someone who helped you take steps towards better health. Write a letter to your news editor or government official to stress the importance of addressing health needs in rural communities. A series of little changes is all it takes to achieve big results.
The St. Lawrence County Health Initiative, Inc. is a community health nonprofit agency that seeks to measurably improve the health of North Country residents through collaborative community efforts. To learn more about our programs, please visit gethealthyslc.org.
St. Lawrence Health Initiative