3329.0 Healthy environments across generations

Monday, October 29, 2012: 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Many factors in the modern chemical, nutritional, social, built, and economic environments interact to either increase chronic disease risks, or pave the way for health. Where and how we live, eat, work, play, and socialize profoundly influence our physical and mental health across the lifespan. Beginning in the womb and continuing throughout life, environmental factors are strong determinants of health decades later. We have scientific evidence confirming certain early life experiences can influence health later in life. We also have a compelling body of research in many areas to show that intergenerational approaches enhance health for all ages. Healthy communities for young people are also healthy communities for adults and elders. Emerging evidence in new areas such as intergenerational “learning centers” suggests that learning across generations can also lead to better health across the lifespan. Many determinants of chronic disease patterns are also linked directly or indirectly to activities that drive climate change and general ecosystem degradation. Human activity has altered virtually every aspect of ecological systems throughout the world in unprecedented ways including climate instability, degraded soil, air, and water quality, and loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, which collectively increase the risks of a number of diseases or conditions in all people. Economic inequities and disparities in healthcare access put poor, disempowered people at greater risk from both chronic illness and environmental threats. In this context, we cannot view health as one individual’s concern. Nor can we consider health in a single moment or single stage of life. Instead, we have to understand health as a whole system with interacting factors that are in constant feedback loops and cannot only be addressed one at a time or at any one stage of life. This means developing innovative, systems-oriented and intergenerational approaches that increase resiliency and reduce disease and disability. This session will address specific environments that influence health – from the womb to the school to the community—and address health promoting actions at the individual, community, societal, and natural environments in which we all live—urban to suburban to rural areas.
Session Objectives: 1. Name at least three environmental determinants of health throughout the lifespan and how they relate to the growing chronic disease burden. 2. Describe how multiple environmental factors can influence health throughout life, including the natural, built, food, chemical, psychosocial and socioeconomic environments, as well as how these interact as cumulative, synergistic or additive stressors. 3. Discuss at least three ways that intergenerational learning and other activities can help enhance health for all ages. 4. List several policies and programs that could promote health during various life stages.

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Organized by: Environment

CE Credits: Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH) , Masters Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES)

See more of: Environment