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Health

Healthful decisions should be easy decisions in a perfect world

Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

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MOVING MASON FORWARD

Railroad Avenue went on a "diet" this last week, reducing its girth from four lines to two lanes. I commend the City of Shelton for being brave in recognizing that a walkable city is a healthy, productive city. They were also wise enough to give this idea a trial run, along with a proposed roundabout in the near future.

Change is hard for most people, and I've observed that it seems especially hard for some Shelton/Mason County residents. In order to create a culture of health in our county, things need to change; from policies, to systems and in the environment we live. Deciding to give downtown Shelton a makeover is a positive step forward toward creating successful new businesses and increasing physical activity opportunities.

The science behind walkable cities is sound and well researched. When we change the environment in a way that makes the healthful choice the easy choice, more people will choose the healthful option. For example, at Mason General Hospital, Chef John Cruse installed a salad bar in the center of the cafeteria. Many locally grown foods are offered and the prices rival any value meal menu you'd expect to find at a fast food restaurant. It's simple behavioral economics, where the price of less-healthful items are increased and healthful items prices are reduced. It's much easier to choose the salad bar when a plate filled with many delicious, colorful items costs under $4.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), individuals and partners working together can make walking a national priority and create a national walking movement. A role exists for all sectors of society, including transportation, land use and community design; parks, recreation and fitness; education; business and industry; volunteer and nonprofit; health care; media; and public health. Families and individuals also have an important role to play to help make the United States a walkable nation.

The strategy of all sectors working together to achieve greater results than any of us can do separately is not new. In the past, entire communities would come together for a barn raising or to harvest a neighbors' crop if the farmer couldn't get it done himself. Moving Mason Forward is predicated on this concept of working together to make positive changes for all of us who live, work, play and learn in Mason County. Stay tuned to learn more about efforts to make differences in all seven priority areas identified in the community health improvement plan. The City of Shelton currently has a survey they would like you to complete regarding the future of city parks which includes walking and bike trails, sports fields, and an indoor recreation center. Visit their website www.ci.shelton.wa.us to complete the survey.

An event that will be held in the fall that focuses on opiate use and abuse in the county is scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 21 at Shelton High School in the student union building. Since we will be meeting over the dinner hour, Mason Matters will be supplying food so attendees are well nourished.

You will learn how opiates affect the brain and have the opportunity to choose an area to help develop plans for prevention, treatment options and support for those affected by opiates.

If you'd like to get involved in creating a culture of health by Moving Mason Forward, contact me at movingmasonforward@gmail.com or by phone 427-9670, ext. 543.



Copyright 2016 Shelton-Mason County Journal, Shelton, Washington. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: July 21, 2016



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