Will Kansas City’s New Bike Lane Plan Save Lives, Grow the Local Economy?



Improving safe routes for people to bike can help cities reach their health, equity, economic, and climate change goals. Kansas City, Missouri (10.2% Latino), for example, can save 36 lives every year and increase local spending by $500 million if the city fully implements its bike plan over the next two decades, according to a new study from the University of Missouri Kansas City’s Department of Architecture, Urban Planning, and Design. Commissioned by Bike Walk Kansas City, researchers analyzed various social and economic benefits of the Kansas City Bicycle Master Plan. “This research confirms how essential a quality bike network is to so many city goals: safety, health, economic opportunity, and fiscal sustainability,” Bike Walk KC’s Director of Community Planning, ...

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Is Bad Building Design Giving You a Headache (Literally)?


VOCs TILT

We already know that artificial lighting and thermal comfort can influence health. Worse, these aspects of building design, such as indoor air quality, can trigger Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT) — when chemical exposure brings about fatigue, headaches, and other ailments. Moving in the direction of wellness-centered architecture could have long-lasting impacts on public health and reduction of TILT, according to Dr. Claudia Miller, an environmental health professor and leader of the Hoffman TILT program at UT Health San Antonio. “Although buildings are where we spend more than 90% of our time, strategies to promote the health and well-being of the occupants are not always a major consideration during design,” Miller told the American Institute of Architects ...

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Building for Holistic Health: Thermal Comfort


Thermal Comfort holistic health

Some people like to keep their indoor temperature at a balanced 70 degrees; others feel most contented when in colder or warmer rooms. Either way, medical and construction experts know that thermal comfort can make significant impacts on health and energy use. Some internal bodily reactions, including mental function and eyesight, can react to the temperature that is present. Thermal comfort is definitely not something to overlook, according to CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). “The perception of thermal comfort is related to one’s metabolic heat production,” the agency states. “Heat transfer from the body to the environment is influenced by factors such as temperature, humidity, air movement, personal activities, and ...

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Salud America! Network Speaks Out Against HUD’s Anti-Immigrant Rule!


HUD "mixed-status" rule

More than 30,000 people and groups submitted public comments to oppose the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) plan to cut off federal housing aid and evict "mixed-status" immigrant families. That is the most comments HUD ever received on a plan. The prior record was 1,000 comments. Several groups led the response. National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and the National Housing Law Project (NHLP) led a Keep Families Together campaign. Salud America!'s letter campaign was signed by 3,382 of its network members and filed as a comment! Many comments denounced HUD's plan as a "ruthless" attempt to break up immigrant families. "It's unbelievably cruel that we have come to this, that the whole family suffers because one or maybe more are not U.S. citizens," ...

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Will San Antonio’s New Pedestrian Mobility Job Make an Impact?



Access to safe, reliable transportation options matters, especially for health and wellbeing. A lack of options can make it impossible to keep a job, get out of poverty, and care for aging family members. In San Antonio (64% Latino), walking is not safe; therefore, public transit quickly becomes an unrealistic option, limiting resident’s transportation options and access to opportunity. That’s why the city government created a new position to develop a coordinated non-vehicular pedestrian mobility effort in its discussions about the 2019 budget. Pedestrian Mobility Officer Last month, city officials hired San Antonio’s first Pedestrian Mobility Officer, Timothy Hayes. This position will dedicate Hayes to enhancing the pedestrian experience by developing and ...

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Building for Holistic Health: Natural and Artificial Lighting


Natural light health

Many people spend up to 90% of their time indoors, whether at the office, in a restaurant, or at home. The way architects, designers, and construction workers erect these buildings can impact human health — including the way light is disbursed. Medical professionals and those in charge of building these structures need to collaborate to create a culture of holistic health. Natural and artificial lighting make significant impacts on people’s sleep cycle, skin, and eyes, according to the European Union’s Scientific Committee. “There is a concern that the emission levels of some lamps could be harmful for the skin and the eyes,” the group states. “Both natural and artificial light can also disrupt the human body clock and the hormonal system, and this can cause health ...

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Sugary Drinks May Be Linked to Cancer Risk, Study Says


sugary drinks cancer hispanic latino girl drinking

If you drink a lot of sugary drinks, you may have a higher risk of getting cancer, says a new study. While it didn't find a direct causal link, the large French study does suggest that limiting sugary drinks could cut cancer cases, according a Reuters report. The study has big implications for Latinos, who drink more sugary drinks than their peers. “This study adds to the science suggesting that it’s a good idea to limit sweetened beverage consumption,” Colleen Doyle, a nutrition expert at the American Cancer Society, told Yahoo! News. What Did the Study Find? Researchers at the Université Sorbonne Paris Cité followed 100,000 adults for five years. They examined consumption levels of sugary drinks, including soda and fruit juice. They analyzed this and risk for ...

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Can Churches Help With the Affordable Housing Crisis?


Church Latino Housing

Many U.S. churches are taking dedicated action to assist those in need of affordable housing by building developments on their properties. "There's so much land owned by houses of worship anywhere you go in the country," David Bowers of Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit focused on housing solutions, said in a speech at the World Economic Forum (WEF). Churches and religious institutions are among the country’s largest landowners. Many of them have additional unused land or adjacent sites that are suitable for development. The current lack of affordable housing in America has substantial implications for many Latinos and dramatically impacts their quality of life. Religious Institutions' Role Places of worship usually offer a variety of amenities that make them ideal ...

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Unregulated Water Wells are Exposing People to Harmful Bacteria


Unregulated Water ChangeLabs

Roughly 40 million Americans, or 12% of the population, are drinking federally unregulated water. The problem? These sources can contain harmful bacteria and chemicals, which can unknowingly infect those drinking from that water, according to ChangeLab Solutions. Latinos, who already struggle to access clean water, should be aware of the risks unregulated water pose. “Ensuring safe drinking water for all US residents is a crucial component of creating healthy, equitable communities across the nation,” ChangeLab writes. “These residents are more likely to be exposed to harmful bacteria or unsafe levels of nitrates and arsenic, which can lead to inequities and serious health consequences for families and entire communities.” What are the Risks? Jacqueline MacDonald ...

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