A lack of focus on community health can lead to a range of complex problems that aren’t easy to correct. For example, crime and safety issues that result from neglected community health can quickly becoming a self-perpetuating cycle. “Repeated exposure to crime and violence may be linked to an increase in negative health outcomes. Children exposed to violence may show increased signs of aggression starting in upper-elementary school,” reports Healthy People 2020.2

Chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, can also increase if a community’s overall well-being is suffering. “An unhealthy community tends to be obese and struggle more from chronic diseases and other health challenges,” Bognanno says.

Chronic diseases like these not only reduce life expectancy, they have a dramatic effect on the economy. The CDC reports that 90 percent of the nation’s annual healthcare expenses are for people with chronic health conditions.3

Curbing the spread of infectious disease is also a priority of community health programs. Without them, communities may find themselves battling outbreaks of illnesses that put vulnerable populations like the elderly at higher risk.

“If a community has to recover from an emergency event, such as a natural disaster, reducing the spread of disease becomes a crucial part of the recovery process,


Measuring community health
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