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Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge: West

Sep 19 2016

A community that provides access to recreation and healthy food are just some of the ways that contributes to healthier residents. Aetna is involved in a partnership and is helping fifty cities and counties across the country to try and solve various health issues. With the help to implement changes, the communities have a better chance of long-term success with creating a healthy community.

The Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge is a partnership between the Aetna Foundation, the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the National Association of Counties (NACo), in collaboration with CEOs for Cities. The challenge will award $1.5 million in prizes to communities that show measurable improvements in health indicators and social determinants of health.

Here are the finalists from the western region of the United States:

Municipality of Anchorage Wayfinding — Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage is home to over 298,000 people, 224 parks and more than 250 miles of trails. Two-thirds (66 percent) of adult residents said they wanted to use the trail system more, but were unable to because of poor signage and a lack of maps. City officials in Anchorage are hoping to improve the walkability of the trails by connecting the parks and trails systems to residents. Officials anticipate increased use of the trails for exercise and commuting, providing residents the opportunity to experience nature while improving their health.

Live Well Communities — San Diego, California

A photo of a community garden in San Diego, California. The city is participating in the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge.

Photo courtesy of San Diego, California

With a population of over 3.3 million people, officials in San Diego were wrestling with a high crime rate. Live Well Communities aim to provide all residents of San Diego County, regardless of location, age, gender, race/ethnicity or socio-economic level, with resources to improve their lives. The project will create jobs, improve access to healthy foods and increase the opportunity for residents to engage in their communities.

e3p3 — City of Perris, California

The City of Perris’ e3p3 Live Well Perris Project aims to improve health equity. With adults reporting no physical activity and difficulty accessing healthy foods, Perris officials are hoping to fix these issues to create a standard of health care. Officials are aiming to create a healthier community by creating community gardens and using open classrooms to provide healthy food, education and resources to its residents.

Active Design for a Healthier Thurston County — Thurston County, Washington

Officials in Thurston County want to conduct a study to help identify and make improvements to increase the walkability of the area’s trail system and in low-income neighborhoods. Creating new paths and installing signage can yield improvements in physical activity, promote the safe use of the trail system and reduce the cost of living.

Read more about the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge finalists in the Southwest, SoutheastMidwest and Northeast.