Most of us know that we have an obesity epidemic in our country. Even in one of the “happiest places on earth”, recent data from the California Health Interview Survey found that only 37.3% of adults in SLO County were of normal weight – which is even less than the percentage of normal weight adults in the state. When addressing obesity and other chronic health conditions, many people focus on personal choices. Rarely do people look at the built environment as a causative factor. Yet increasingly, elected officials, public health professionals, architects,city and county planners, agricultural professionals, and transportation officials have come to realize that the way we design our communities can have serious implications for our health.
Richard J. Jackson is the chair of Environmental Health Sciences at the
UCLA School of Public Health. In addition to holding many appointments
within the state of California, he gained national prominence when he
worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and addressed
policy analyses of environmental impacts on health related to urban design,
architecture and mobility. In addition, he is developing policy analyses
in related areas, such as how farm, education, housing, and transportation
policies affect health. Dr. Jackson recently served on the Board of
Directors of the American Institute of Architects, and he has also chaired
the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Environmental Health. He
has a three part Public Broadcasting System special titled “Designing
Healthy Communities” which will be aired in the spring, along with a
companion book which will be released at the same time.
Dr. Jackson’s message is titled “Confronting the Crisis, Crash and
Collapse: Creating Co-Beneficial Solutions for Healthy Communities,
Economic Growth, and Sustainable Resources”. An opening welcome will be
made by the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Adam Hill. Following Dr.
Jackson’s presentation, a panel of local representatives will address ways
the SLO County region is addressing the ideas raised in the presentation.
The panel will include Dr. Ann McDermott, Cal Poly STRIDE Director, Dr.
Penny Borenstein, County Health Officer, Jim Patterson, County Board of
Supervisors, and Bill Spencer, Co-Owner of Windrose Farm. Richard Gearhart,
KSBY anchor, will moderate the panel.