253772 Improving health and the built environment for older adults: Use of health impact assessment

Monday, October 31, 2011: 10:50 AM

Andrew Dannenberg, MD, MPH , Consultant, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
The built environment has substantial impacts on the health of the residents of a community. Distance, safety, and connectedness influence whether residents drive to most daily destinations or can walk, bicycle, or use transit to those destinations. In areas that are not walkable, heavy dependence on automobiles contributes to air pollution and associated cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, motor-vehicle related injuries, and climate change. Community design following Smart Growth principles can enhance social capital and mental health as well as promote environmental justice. For older adults, especially those with mobility, vision, or hearing impairments, the design of the local built environment has major impacts on the quality of their daily lives.Many design features that make a built environment more convenient and safe for use by older adults also help children and persons with disabilities of all ages. Health impact assessment (HIA) is a tool that can used to convey health consequences of proposed projects and policies to decision-makers to help mitigate adverse and promote favorable design features. Most HIAs focus on the needs of vulnerable populations including those of older adults. Among examples that have focused on the needs of older adults are an HIA of the Jack London Gateway senior housing project in California and an HIA of the accessory dwelling unit policy in Benton County, Oregon.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate the use of health impact assessment to improve health and the built environment for older adults.

Keywords: Aging, Environment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a physician epidemiologist who has worked for the past 10 years on research, teacing and publications about the impacts on health of the design of the built environment, including a special focus on the use of health impact assessment to convey information about health to decision makers who are typically outside of the health sector.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.