Build a nation of safe, healthy communities

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Why should I care?

The home and neighborhood you live in can impact your health and your opportunity to engage in healthy behaviors. We want people across the U.S. to live in communities where they can be safe and active throughout the day. 

There are many barriers to health in our homes and neighborhoods that we need to overcome:

In Our Homes1

  • Thirty-five million homes in America have at least one health or safety hazard.
  • Over 24 million homes have lead-based paint hazards, which put children at risk of lead poisoning.
  • The presence of radon in homes causes 21,000 lung cancer deaths annually.
  • Between 20-30 percent of asthma cases are linked to modifiable conditions in people’s houses. Populations that suffer from disproportionate rates of asthma, such as children, women, low-income residents, blacks and Puerto Ricans, also face a higher chance of living in hazardous homes.

In Our Neighborhoods

  • In 2013, nearly 5,000 pedestrians were killed in traffic collisions.3 The majority of these deaths are in low-income communities and communities of color, where sidewalks and streets are more likely to be poorly maintained.4
  • Nearly 50 percent of Americans live in communities with unhealthy levels of air pollution associated with car exhaust and industrial pollution.5
  • More than 23 million people in the U.S. live in a “food desert” where they don’t have access to healthy and affordable food.6
  • In 2015, there were more than 50,000 incidents of gun violence in America that resulted in injuries and deaths.7

Yes, these statistics can feel grim. But remember: There are evidence-based ways to design new neighborhoods and improve existing ones to help keep us safer and healthier. You can influence those designs and improvements and shape up your community!

What can I do?

Reducing exposure to radon can impact the risk of lung cancer. Contact a certified inspector to have your home tested for radon. 

Gun violence takes about as many lives each year as automobile crashes in the U.S.8 Demand that your members of Congress vote for common-sense safety measures to prevent gun violence.

Similarly, designing roads that are friendly to cyclists and pedestrians will make our communities both safer and healthier. Ask your local officials to build streets that are safe for all modes of transportation. 

You can also use the power of the purse to make a difference in your community. Support farmers markets and local businesses that value health, such as   retailers that sell affordable healthy food and do not sell or market tobacco products.

1 APHA: National Healthy Housing Standard

2 National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: Reducing Asthma Disparities

3 NHTSA: Traffic Safety Facts

4 SRTS At the Intersection of Active Transportation and Equity

5 APHA Healthiest Nation infographic

6 USDA, Food Deserts

7 Gun Violence Archive

8 National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (2007 (deaths) and 2008 (injuries))  Calculations by Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, 2009