Planners4Health & Healthy Community Speaker Series

While public health officials have long understood that toxins in air, water, and food can harm human health, many now recognize that the way communities are designed and laid out—and the extent to which transportation policies help or hinder walking and bicycling—can dramatically affect the level of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, found in the population.

Today, more than 1.8 million Oregonians, representing 62% of the population—and nearly a quarter of Oregon’s eighth- and 11th-graders—are overweight or obese. In 2009, obesity-related illnesses cost the state about $1.6 billion in health care costs. Moreover, physical inactivity itself—whether or not a person is overweight or obese—is recognized as a major risk factor for various chronic diseases.

Since 2012, OAPA has been working with other organizations around the state to raise awareness about the health impacts of community design.

Plan4Health/Planners4Health Project

With support from the American Planning Association, the American Public Health Association, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, OAPA worked with statewide partners to conduct a planning and health assessment in Oregon. This project built off of the Umatilla County Plan4Health project. Browse key deliverables from this project:

Healthy Community Speaker Series

OAPA partnered with the Oregon Transportation and Growth Management Program, Oregon Health Authority, 1000 Friends of Oregon, City of Eugene, and Building a Better Bend (among many others) to bring nationally renowned speakers to Oregon to discuss the health impacts of community design. This successful program reached thousands of Oregonians and raised the awareness of how designing for pedestrians and cyclists is a successful tool to battle chronic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.