Health Equity

Health status is influenced by a range of personal, social, economic and environmental factors. Built environment
factors influence our ability to engage in healthy behaviors, like regular physical activity and healthy eating
habits, as well as safety and economic opportunities where we live, work and play. To achieve health equity, the
attainment of the highest level of health for all people, we must eliminate obstacles to health, particularly for
groups with socioeconomic disadvantages. Using a lens of health equity, we can take a targeted approach to
improving transportation, land use and other built environment factors that influence health.
When health outcomes differ by income, race/ethnicity and other social determinants, we observe health
disparities. For example, we see health disparities in terms of race with African-Americans having a higher risk
for developing Type 2 Diabetes. We also see health disparities by income with low-income families less likely
to have access to healthy, affordable foods, thus increasing their risk for chronic conditions, such as obesity,
diabetes, and hypertension. By identifying equity priority areas, planners and policy-makers can focus efforts in
these areas to improve health outcomes.

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