The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce issued a challenge to the broader community: come up with ways that Kansas City could become a community on the leading edge of health.
Why would they do this? Well, besides improvements that benefit Kansas Citians themselves, economics is part of the answer. The health of a community is cited as one of the top aspects people look at when relocating to new cities. Those cities that are growing the fastest in business start-ups and population influx are also the cities that have made a conscious decision to focus on health.
After much deliberation and reviewing community input, the KC Chamber settled on healthy eating, active living, tobacco use prevention and cessation, behavioral health and workplace wellness as areas to strengthen in Kansas City.
More than 100 local health experts spent months coming up with strategies to advance these areas for the Healthy KC Initiative. When you take a look at the recommendations, it is clear that there is much work to be done but such incredible potential. The recommendations are practical, concrete changes that would make a big difference. But by practical, I don’t necessarily mean easy. This will require a community-wide effort to promote physical activity, nutrition, and other healthy lifestyle choices to build healthy people, organizations, and communities in Greater Kansas City.
That being said, I think that these recommendations represent a combined hundreds of hours of great thinking about what is possible if we want to take that leap. I have no doubts that Kansas City is capable of great things—everything from collectively walking to the moon to reducing teenagers’ access to tobacco.
Take a moment to look at the list of great thinkers who put their minds together and the list of efforts that they suggest.
I have full confidence that Kansas City and its residents are up to the challenge.