Where will any of us be in 2040?  Lancaster General Health and many other community partners are currently working with the Lancaster County Planning Commission to develop “places2040,” the new comprehensive plan for the county.  This plan will create a vision for what the county will look and feel like in 2040, and it offers an excellent opportunity to plan for the future health of Lancaster County residents.

By becoming a Partner for Place with the Lancaster County Planning Commission, LG Health is making a commitment to help build a community where every county resident can live a healthy lifestyle.  Our vision for 2040 is a Lancaster County where people live, work, and play in places that support their physical, mental, and social well-being. 

Meetings are occurring throughout the county in October to gauge interest, encourage engagement and gather opinions.

Our health depends on many factors other than medical care. Community design affects health in many ways, and there is a long history of collaboration between public health and planning professionals. Chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and depression are the most common causes of death and disability for Americans.  In Lancaster County, 28 percent of adults and 14 percent of children are obese and at risk for future health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.  One in three adults experienced at least one day in the past 30 days when their mental health was not good.  

The relationship between planning and health is extremely important.  Healthy communities are designed to support physical activity, encourage healthy eating habits, promote mental well-being, and prevent unintentional injuries. There is strong evidence that improving access to places for physical activity increases physical activity and improves physical fitness in urban, rural, and suburban areas.

Transportation planning that supports biking, walking, and public transportation increases physical activity, in addition to improving air quality and improving access to goods, services, and job opportunities.  Zoning that supports farmers markets and healthy food vendors can improve the local food environment, support business development, and encourage pedestrian foot traffic.  By encouraging land use that preserves farmland, creates opportunities for community gardens, and incorporates healthy food stores into neighborhoods, we can support good nutrition habits.

For more information on how to make Lancaster County a healthier place, visit www.places2040.com.

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