Take Action in Your Community

Do you want to be a part of making your community healthier? Or connect in your neighborhood to explore possibilities? We’ve created resources to help you get started, including steps for action and links to stories about other Minnesotans who have pulled together to make their communities healthier.

Active School Recess

We want kids to be healthy, successful and safe especially when they are in school. Recess has always been a critical outlet for kids to be physically active and practice important social skills like sharing, taking turns and following rules. Unfortunately, as the pace of home and school life continues to accelerate, there is a growing perception that recess is optional, and that time could be used for "more important" activities or lessons.

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Biking and Walking to School

Between 1969 and 2009, the percentage of children walking or biking to school dropped from 50% to 13%. Distance is the most commonly reported barrier, but half of trips to school made by personal vehicles are between ¼- to ½-mile. Rates of obesity in children have soared over the past 40 years. Approximately 33% are overweight or obese, or at risk of becoming obese. Children aren't getting enough physical activity: 23% get no free time for physical activity at all.

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Community Gardens

55% of Minnesotans have difficulty getting to stores with affordable fruits and vegetables. Community gardens are a great way to provide access to fruits and vegetables while building relationships among neighbors, increasing physical activity and lowering stress. And the green space added to a community increases a sense of well-being and belonging.

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Farmers Markets

Unfortunately, many Minnesotans do not have access to affordable fresh fruits and vegetables, which makes it difficult to live a healthy lifestyle. Improving access to healthy foods, particularly for low-income residents, is considered one key way to improve population health and reduce health inequities.

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Healthy Food Access

Many of the leading chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer have strong, undeniable links to how we eat, meaning that healthy eating is a key ingredient for good health.

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Healthy Food in Schools

As a majority of children’s waking hours are spent in school, it’s important to provide them with healthy choices that are good for their overall wellbeing. Children who lack proper nutrition often have trouble focusing in school, while kids who regularly eat nutritious meals are better able to concentrate and have more energy for school work.

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Open Spaces for Physical Activity

Parks and playgrounds play an important role in promoting physical activity and health for people of all ages. In fact, people who live closer to parks tend to be more physically active. A growing body of evidence shows the links between physical activity and access to, programming in, and maintenance of parks, trails, greenways and indoor recreation facilities, and making sure these places are safe and well-maintained.

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Safer Biking

52% of Minnesotans say they don't feel safe biking where they live. Safe places to bike are vital to getting more people to ride bikes. There is a direct correlation between feelings of personal safety and the number and percentage of weekly trips taken by bike. Cities around the U.S. have found that protected bike lanes increase bicycle ridership, reduce motor vehicle speeding, reduce crashes and improve people's feelings of safety on those streets.

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Tobacco Free Places

In Minnesota, significant progress has been made to protect people from the harmful effects of tobacco use. However, despite a low overall smoking rate and many indoor tobacco-free spaces like restaurants and workplaces, tobacco is still a problem in Minnesota.

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Walkable Communities

58% of Minnesotans agree that not being able to walk to school or work is an obstacle to healthier living. Walking is an easy and accessible way to be active,and regular physical activity reduces the risks of many chronic diseases.

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  • Making Healthy Choices Possible for All Minnesotans

    The Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota tackles the leading causes of preventable disease -- tobacco use, physical inactivity and unhealthy eating -- to increase health equity, transform communities and create a healthier state.