The call to action for creating more walkable communities is urgent because data shows that this is the first generation of children expected to live shorter lives than their parents. Jeff Speck, a city planner and urban designer widely known for his book, “Walkable City”, underscored this fact in his talk to Central Florida leaders.
Two nationally known experts, Speck and Dr. Brian Wansink, a professor at Cornell and author of “Slim By Design”, shared evidence-based strategies for creating healthier environments at Healthy Central Florida’s 4th Annual Health Innovation Grants Workshop on May 11.
Speck also spoke to the MetroPlan Orlando Board and to a joint workshop with Winter Park and Maitland elected leaders and senior staff. It was a busy day of workshops promoting health to key area leaders.
From the morning workshop, a total of $25,000 will be awarded to projects submitted by area non-profits that incorporate strategies learned from these thought leaders that are designed to make our communities healthier. Ten nonprofits will ach receive $2,500 from Healthy Central Florida for projects that promote physical activity (primarily walking and biking) and access to healthy foods. Grant winners will be notified the week of June 13.
“The greatest risks are coming from our built environments, not our choices,” Speck added. “We have designed the useful walk out of existence.”
Wansink, a professor at Cornell University and author of “Slim by Design,” echoed the importance of creating healthy environments. “It’s easier to change your eating environment than to change your mind,” said Wansink, who shared painless, scalable, meet-people-where-they-are ways to make healthier choices in restaurants, schools and at home.
“We look forward to distributing grants to innovative programs that will focus on improving the health and wellness of area residents,” said Jill Hamilton Buss, Executive Director of Healthy Central Florida.
Healthy Central Florida, which was founded by Florida Hospital and the Winter Park Health Foundation, “perfectly complements the hospital’s wellness mission”, according to Yamile Luna, assistant vice president of community impact at Florida Hospital. “It is amazing to see what can be accomplished when organizations and people partner,” Luna said. “We are thrilled that Healthy Central Florida has helped elevate the discussion surrounding health and the importance of simple lifestyle changes, such as riding a bicycle or walking to work.”
To view photos from the event, click here.
To see Jeff Speck’s slide presentation, click here.
To see Dr. Brian Wansink’s slide presentation, click here.