Healthy KC Initiative seeks to put Kansas City at leading edge of health

By Dr. Bridget McCandless, HCF President/CEO

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.

Healthy KCMore 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.



Kids naturally want to be active, but they are stuck in lecture after lecture during school with very little time to run around and just be kids.

Healthy KC should start with giving ALL SCHOOL CHILDREN a daily morning 30 minute recess, a daily afternoon 30 minute recess, and at least an hour lunch daily. I had that as a kid and there were no behavior issues, NONE! ZERO! And no childhood obesity back in the 70's and 80's. NONE! ZERO! I graduated 6th in my class in high school and went on to college, graduating with a 3.0 gpa. I still enjoy being active today thanks to school recess!!!

Make more parks, provide more indoor places to be active for free. Build fun places and kids will go.

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HCF's Local Health Buzz Blog aims to discuss health and health policy issues that impact the uninsured and underserved in our service area. To submit a blog, please contact HCF Communications Officers, Jennifer Sykes, at



About Bridget's Blog

Bridget McCandless

Bridget McCandless, MD, MBA, FACP, HCF President/CEO

Bridget McCandless is the President/CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City and is a Board Certified Internal Medicine Specialist with an interest in chronic disease management and poverty medicine. She shares her thoughts and perspectives on health and policy issues that impact the health of the community as a whole.

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