Designing Healthy Communities: 4 Part Series Airing on PBS in October

Richard Jackson, MD, MPH (former California Health Officer, currently at UCLA) explains the link between our health and the way our communities, especially our suburbs, are designed. Obesity, asthma, diabetes and heart disease are all aggravated by the (car-centered) way we live our lives. Today’s generation of children are likely to have shorter lives than their parents because of their unhealthy lifestyles.  It doesn’t have to be this way. Well-designed communities can improve both physical and mental health, as Dr. Jackson explains in this four-part public television series.

Public Health has traditionally associated the “built environment” with issues such as poor sanitation, lead paint poisoning children, workplace safety, fire codes and access for persons with disabilities. If we are what we eat, it can also be said that we are what we build. We now realize that how we design the built environment may hold tremendous potential for addressing many of the nation’s current public health concerns. These include obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma, depression, violence and social inequities.

Airing on PBS station KIXE Redding-Chico in October 2012:

Episode 1 (October 6, 8-9 pm) Retrofitting Suburbia: 
“Dr. Richard Jackson MD MPH, investigates the link between our nation’s obesity and Type 2 Diabetes epidemic with urban sprawl fueled by car dependency.”

Episode 2 (October 13, 8-9 pm) Rebuilding Places of the Heart: 
“When U.S. industry and manufacturing collapsed or went elsewhere, … many communities in the United States were left with the task of redefining themselves…. Leading the way to a greener, more sustainable Elgin is a group of high school students.”

Episode 3 (October 20, 8-9 pm) Social Policy in Concrete:
“We meet a morbidly obese grandmother struggling to raise seven grandchildren, all of whom have asthma… Health officials, community activists and a new breed of young Urban Pioneers are working to fix their cities…. by transforming (them).”

Episode 4 (October 27, 8-9 pm) Searching for Shangri-La:
Dr. Jackson searches past and present America for healthy, sustainable communities of all sizes and shapes that can serve as models for the rest of the nation.”

For more information and/or a 6 minute introductory video (click on “continue reading” button at top of page before launching the video), see  http://designinghealthycommunities.org/