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Posted on: June 12, 2019

DCCF event to focus on food security and personal health

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As one key issue area of the current Douglas County Community Health Plan, conveners in the community are working to create conditions for everyone in Douglas County to achieve food security and have access to a healthy built environment.

When community issues arise that no one organization can tackle on its own, we try to connect people and help them work together to make progress on common goals. In 2019, the Douglas County Community Foundation as one of its community initiatives has launched a series of community conversations around issues that impact the health, future and well-being of all citizens of Douglas County.

All members of the public are welcome and encouraged to attend the next conversation on Food Security and Personal Health from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., June 27, at the Flory Meeting Hall, 2120 Harper St., at the Douglas County Fairgrounds. As part of its mission to improve the lives of Douglas County citizens through charitable action, DCCF will be convening nonprofit, business and government leaders, university faculty, and philanthropists for conversations about how we can all make progress toward these local concerns featured in the Community Health Plan.

The event will feature:

5:45 p.m. – Welcome and Introduction – Chip Blaser, DCCF Executive Director

6:00 p.m. – Health Equity Report Summary – Sonia Jordan, Director of Informatics, Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department

6:10 p.m. – Food Policy Council update – Kim Criner, Chair, Douglas County Food Policy Council

6:15 p.m. – LiveWell Douglas County update – Christina Holt, Chair-Elect

6:20 p.m. – Just Food update — Liz Keever, Executive Director

6:30 p.m. – Breakout groups for discussion of health equity, food security and personal health questions to advance community needs

6:50 p.m. – Facilitators report information

7 p.m. – Visit with nonprofits working on these issues

Why this conversation matters

Food insecurity and access to healthy food influence health and well-being. Barriers to food access such as transportation and cost persist for low-income populations, and some areas within Lawrence and Douglas County have been formally recognized as food deserts. Additionally, notable disparities for fruit and vegetable consumption divide along gender, age, ethnicity, disability and insurance status. And, lacking consistent access to healthy food has dire outcomes -- hunger, weight gain, and premature death. 

Adequate physical activity is also critical to health, and a healthy built environment is foundational for supporting physical activity. Physical attributes of a neighborhood, like the presence of well-maintained sidewalks, has an impact on rates of physical activity in the area. In Kansas, there are gender, age, race/ethnicity, education, and income disparities for participating in the recommended amount of physical activity (aerobic and strength training).

See more about health inequities in Douglas County via the Healthier Together platform.

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