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To Control Health Costs, Build Sidewalks

Each month new research emerges linking public health with the built environment. Yet just a small fraction of healthcare spending goes toward reducing our exposure to unhealthy environments. Under the Affordable Care Act, that could soon change.
August 13, 2013, 6am PDT | bmaryman
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"Public health practitioners look at streets like the one above and have gradually come to the conclusion–based on reams of studies–that exposure to streetscapes like it are one of the causes of Americans’ ever-increasing rise chronic disease," writes Brice Maryman. "In fact, the New England Health Care Institute estimates that our environments influence as much as 20% of our public health outcomes."

"All of this evidence begs the question: if the built environment is a significant determinant of our public health outcomes, why aren’t health entities–hospitals, HMO’s and clinics–helping to build a better infrastructure that supports sound health outcomes? While public health agencies like PHSKC and the CDC have been leading the way, the private sector has been generally hesitant to directly intervene in the built environment."

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Published on Friday, August 9, 2013 in SvR Design Company Blog
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