People may make decisions based on their environment or community. For example, a person may choose not to walk to the store or work because of a lack of sidewalks. Communities, homes, and workplaces each shape health decisions. With fewer options for physical activity and healthy eating, it becomes more difficult for people to make good choices. The Surgeon General’s Call to action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity 2000 identified action steps to prevent and decrease obesity and overweight. Below is a table listing the steps related to possible environmental factors.
Location Environmental Factors Potential Impact on Energy Balance Home Reduce time spent watching television and in other sedentary behaviors Build physical activity into regular routines Increases daily and leisure time physical activity Increases calories used Schools Ensure that the school breakfast and lunch programs meet nutrition standards Provide food options that are low in fat, calories, and added sugars Provide all children, from prekindergarten through grade 12, with quality daily physical education Decreases excessive calorie consumption Increases daily physical activity Work Create more opportunities for physical activity at work sites Increases daily physical activity Increases calories used Community Promote healthier choices including at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and reasonable portion sizes Encourage the food industry to provide reasonable food and beverage portion sizes Encourage food outlets to increase the availability of low-calorie, nutritious food items Create opportunities for physical activity in communities Decreases in excessive calorie consumption Increases leisure time physical activity