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Healthy Communities Are Strong Communities

Learn more about United Way’s roadmap for improving people’s lives and strengthening communities.

Good health is both a community responsibility and a community benefit: It goes beyond the individual choices we make. Its roots are in the neighborhoods we build and environments we inhabit. Being healthy isn’t just about personal diet and exercise choices. Healthy communities are ones that maintain parks and bike paths all across town, where all kids have access to safe playgrounds, eat healthy meals at school and engage in physical activity after school. Healthy communities support social innovations, like farmers' markets in low-wage neighborhoods to offer more access to fresh food.  Healthy communities are free of environmental toxins, where everyone has access to good medical care. Healthy communities foster an active lifestyle and encourage people to care for and support each other.

The impact of poor health is felt across the community as a whole, too. Children who are absent from school because of sick days won't do as well in school, work or life.  When kids get a healthy start—such as in Toledo, Ohio, where the United Way is working to ensure more safe, walkable routes to school, and provide free breakfast to every elementary school kid—everyone benefits.

Helping people make choices that promote healthy lifestyles and broadening access to health care are only part of the solution. United Way is creating solutions that help everyone thrive, creating healthier communities that improve our collective quality of life.

Success Story: Moving the Needle on Child Obesity in Camden

Learn more about how United Way and partners are tackling child obesity in Camden, New Jersey.

In Camden, New Jersey, United Way and partners succesfully advocated for all 26 schools, 12 childcare centers and a faith-based organization to adopt new wellness standards for nutrition and exercise. Kids also have access to healthy and free “grab n’ go” breakfast options in the classroom at four sites. At Forest Hill Elementary, one of the pilot schools for the "Breakfast in the Classroom" policy, the number of students partaking in healthy school breakfast skyrocketed from 43 percent to 91 percent.

If Camden can achieve similar results at other schools, the community will have taken an important step toward reversing the trend in childhood nutrition, school attendance, and test scores.

Success Story: Innovation is the Key to a Healthier Lehigh Valley

Learn more about how Community Schools in Lehigh Valley and other communities offer solutions for education, financial stability and health -- all under one roof.

In Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, 11 schools are serving as “community schools”—for students, their families and their whole communities—by offering citizens a variety of essential services, from dental care to classes in English as a Second Language.

One of the most exciting developments since the expansion of the Community Schools is a free community health clinic at Broughal Middle School. One Saturday each month, the clinic is open not only to Broughal students and their families, but also to people in the surrounding community as well. Medical school students volunteer their time to staff the clinic, and the local health bureau offers free immunizations.

Success Story: Young People Take on Hepatitis B in Mumbai

Learn more about how passionate young leaders are improving lives in Mumbai and other communities.

In Mumbai, India, 9,000 college youth, public health personnel and community members, has taken on one of India’s greatest challenges: the epidemic of Hepatitis B.

With the support of United Way Mumbai and partners, over 1.2 million people have been educated with information about Hepatitis infections, over 10,000 people have been tested, and nearly 9,000 people have been vaccinated. The community has achieved all this in just three years, and they aim to expand the health education and awareness program to 2 million people by September 2014.