What Is HEAL?

Group of friends on a walk & balancing on a tree trunk in the forest.

You may have heard of HEAL before. Hey, you may even know that it stands for healthy eating and active living (if so, kudos to you)! But what you may not know is that the mission of HEAL is a lot bigger than to promote healthy personal choices.

There are so many life factors that can lead to poor nutrition and low levels of physical activity in certain communities, particularly in those where income levels are low. These factors are important to learn about as they extend far beyond personal decision-making.

To gain a better understanding of the obstacles to healthy eating and active living as well as what the ultimate goals of HEAL really are, keep reading!

The Dangers of a Poor Diet and Idle Lifestyle

To understand what HEAL aims to achieve, you must know what it’s trying to combat, which is anything associated with or resulting from a poor diet and idle lifestyle choices, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, and a variety of other serious health complications.

HEAL recognizes the severity of these issues and attempts to reduce their impact on communities of all socioeconomic conditions by influencing relevant policies and addressing underlying causes. We hope our efforts can remove barriers to accessible exercise and provide greater access to healthy eating and active living options for all.

Healthy Eating

Did your parents ever ask you, “Honey, have you eaten your broccoli?” Most people would say yes. The first half of the acronym HEAL is something many of us learned about when we were very young. However, it takes more than some parental coaxing to get entire communities to eat healthy, and that’s because the root of the issue goes far beyond a distaste for veggies.

Many communities don’t have access to healthy food options. Or else, if they do, these options are far too expensive to buy. The lack of nutritious food in underserved communities does not just affect dinner tables but workplaces, schools, places of worship, and other eating locations, too.

One of the main goals of HEAL’s various community health initiatives is to address the underlying causes of food access issues. We help educate communities about nutrition and the dangers of a poor diet and ultimately provide them with greater access to affordable, fresh, and healthy food.

Active Living

Active living is a term intended to describe a daily living routine inclusive of physical activity whenever possible. It’s not just about getting in a regular workout, it’s about opting to walk or bike somewhere rather than drive, for example. In order to promote active living, HEAL coalitions seek to increase safe access to physical activities in communities that lack proper facilities, such as sidewalks and crosswalks, and equipment. Our goal is also to influence policy in order to create more community space where physical activity is possible.

In sum, we want to knock down barriers to healthy eating and active living and HEAL communities that suffer from poor nutrition and physical inactivity due to circumstances beyond their control.

Want more information on HEAL or have questions about how to help your community? Email us at info@wholespire.org.

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