What You Should Be Building Is Intergenerational Health - SolidRumor.com

What You Should Be Building Is Intergenerational Health

 What You Should Be Building Is Intergenerational Health

We generally think of wellness as a bunch of stuff we do as individuals. It’s self-care, right? What does running a 10K or getting eight hours of sleep have to do with anyone but yourself?

I’d argue, however, that it’s time we start thinking about health and wellness as something more communal—a set of commitments that can actually be a force for collective action and positive social impact. That’s never been easier to understand than it has this year, when police violence and the pandemic have made our country’s inequalities, particularly around health and well-being, harder to ignore than ever. If social justice is about creating a more equitable distribution of rights and opportunities, how could that not include the right to good food, good health, and good living? And if you’re living well, you have a responsibility to help others live well too.

If you’re thinking, Dude, Joe, I’m just not really into politics, I’ve got bad news: Your life is inherently political. What you eat, where you work out, the brands you wear—none of these choices are neutral. I understand that might be uncomfortable to hear. But that doesn’t mean it should scare you. In fact, it should give you hope. Because your wellness can be a form of activism. I’m passionate about creating what I call intergenerational health, and that comes from addressing the structural and systemic disadvantages within ecosystems so that more people can thrive in the long haul.

Improving access to fresh food is one key to unlocking intergenerational health.

The first thing we need to realize and accept is that no one is self-made. You can’t demonize others for appearing unhealthy. People are ultimately products of their environment, and if you’re placed in an environment where you’re just trying to get by, it’s going to be hard to flourish. I’m in shape, but it’s not because I’m some kind of freak of nature—I’m privileged to have a life that allows me to eat well and move my body. But if you’re in a situation where your basic needs aren’t met, you don’t have a lot of time to sit back and think, How can I design my environment so that I can be healthy and well?

You hear a lot of talk about the racial wealth gap in the United States, but there’s also a huge health gap. One of the reasons Black and Latinx people are so disproportionately affected by COVID-19 is their environments. Racist and discriminatory health and housing policies have made it so that these populations have less access to high-quality and preventative health care, to parks and other green spaces, to good supermarkets, to gyms and recreational facilities. They’re more likely to be subjected to noise and air pollution, and to live in crowded environments—all things that put a body under constant stress, especially during a pandemic. That’s a wellness problem, and it’s all interconnected.

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