Temple host hearing on healthier living

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    While many Americans are focusing on healthcare, a group of professionals in the field met Thursday in Philadelphia to discuss an aspect of health that is often forgotten: healthy living.

    The Robert Wood Johnson Commission to Build a Healthier America held its second hearings at Temple University. Mayor Michael Nutter opened the hearing, which focused on healthy homes and communities. National and local experts discussed nutrition, healthy living spaces and physical activity, among other issues.

    Panelists highlighted efforts that help Americans make healthy choices. Angela Glover Blackwell with the research and advocacy group PolicyLink said it is important to understand choice in the context of the options available.

    “When, for example, you don’t have access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” she said, “you can’t really say that people are choosing not to have healthy diets.”

    Blackwell pointed to data showing that 70 percent to 80 percent of illness and death is related to behavior and environment. Still, she said the commission does not deny the importance of a good healthcare system.

    She said the commission hopes to draw more attention to the value of healthy living and “shine a bright light on some of the other contributors to well being.”

    The commission is set to release its findings and recommendations in the spring.

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