How healthy is your neighborhood?

This week is Girls Inc. Girls’ Rights Week, an annual celebration of girls advocating for their rights and positive change in the world. The theme of this year’s week is Healthy Girls, Healthy Communities.
As a part of the week, Girls Inc. created the Healthy Girls, Healthy Communities Mapping Project, a collection of maps created by girls across the United States. Girls ages 6-18 examined their neighborhoods, schools, towns, and counties to identify opportunities, barriers, and solutions around physical activity.
I’m thrilled with this conceptualization of health for girls. After all, so often we are socialized to measure our health in terms of pounds, calories, and inches, rather than taking a more holistic view (how do we feel? how do we move? what kind of pleasure do we take in eating? etc.). Further, too often our reality television, extreme makeover culture makes girls feel like they have infinite control over their own body sizes and shapes, as if all of us just need willpower and money to obtain the perfect, as defined by society at the moment, body. Instead, there are genetic factors, physiological limits, and environmental influences that play a huge role in what our bodies look like and how we experience them.
When I look at my neighborhood, I can see that I’m blessed in terms of proximity to a park and the general safety to take advantage of it on an almost daily basis. I also don’t have a car, so I walk a lot and carry all of my groceries etc. with my own two arms. On the other hand, I live near a lot of fast food joints and corner stores that don’t carry many healthy eating options. As the neighborhood has gentrified (a whole different post, of course), the corner stores have started carrying healthier food options, but most of them are exorbitantly priced compared to the rest of the merchandise.
How does your neighborhood/community measure up in terms of health and wellness factors?

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