Coalition Aims To Improve Health In Low-Income Communities

Do you have a place to exercise? Is there a grocery store in your neighborhood? Do you cringe at the food in your kids’ school? A new public health campaign focuses on these issues.

Rates of chronic disease such as diabetes and asthma are higher in many low-income communities where there are often few public places to exercise and more fast food than grocery stores. A new coalition aims to change this.

The Massachusetts Public Health Association is pushing for new zoning laws, state tax credits and stricter rules in the case of school nutrition and exercise.

"If we implement these things, what we will see is people being at a healthier weight, lower rates of diseases like diabetes, we will see less need for expensive chronic care, not to mention healthier and longer lives," said coalition member Valerie Bassett.

A study out January found the state could save at least $55 million a year on Medicaid if it reduced the rate of chronic disease by 5 percent.

This program aired on February 7, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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Martha Bebinger Reporter
Martha Bebinger covers health care and other general assignments for WBUR.



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