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Summary

Having a healthy lifestyle means more than just eating healthy and getting plenty of physical activity. The environment in which we live also plays an important part of living a healthy lifestyle and in prevention of chronic disease, accidents, and accidental death. But healthy housing goes far beyond just having a clean home. According to a 2019 report from the United States Surgeon General, “the leading preventable causes of disease, disability, and death,” (Office of the Surgeon General, 2019), are a direct result of unsafe or unhealthy living environments. Creating a healthy home environment means ensuring that your home is safe inside and out.

Situation

According to statistics, people, on average, spend approximately half of their time at home. The introduction of COVID-19 required people to spend even more time at home as work and school were restricted to the home. This increased time spent at home made it critical to ensure the home environment was healthy and safe indoors and out. Identifying health issues in the home, the Centers for Disease Control estimates 6 in 10 adults suffer from a chronic disease and that more than $34 billion a year is associated with falls for people age 65 and over. Asthma claims several thousand deaths annually with a cost exceeding $15 billion per year (National Institute of Health). The presence of mold and moisture in the home decreases indoor air quality and increases the rate of exposure to harmful pollutants causing respiratory symptoms, allergies and asthma, as well as disturbance of the immune system (World Health Organization, 2009). Additionally, it has been found that some molds may cause toxic effects and even infectious disease. While short-term exposure can cause health issues, long-term exposure can prove more harmful and potentially fatal. The National Safety Council reports that one of the leading causes of injury and death in older adults is a result of falls with more than 800,000 people being hospitalized and suffering head and hip injuries. Providing timely and informative information about important topics on how to develop a healthy home environment in the prevention of chronic disease and other harmful health issues became the focus for the agent.

Response

The agent developed a series of healthy housing news articles that were featured in the local newspaper to help citizens identify and remedy potential hazards in the home. The series provided an overview to healthy homes, proper cleaning & sanitizing the home, decluttering, identifying and prevention of mold and moisture, home maintenance, energy savers, water quality, healthy septic systems and effects of wipes in septic systems. These articles educated consumers on health hazards and dangers in the home and ways to correct problems in order to develop a healthy living environment in the prevention of chronic disease, falls, and other potential health hazards. Offering publications on “Healthy Home” topics in the office would be made available to the public as requested.

Impact

The agent developed a series of healthy housing news articles that were featured in the local newspaper to help citizens identify and remedy potential hazards in the home. The series provided an overview to healthy homes, proper cleaning & sanitizing the home, decluttering, identifying and prevention of mold and moisture, home maintenance, energy savers, water quality, healthy septic systems and effects of wipes in septic systems. These articles educated consumers on health hazards and dangers in the home and ways to correct problems in order to develop a healthy living environment in the prevention of chronic disease, falls, and other potential health hazards. Offering publications on “Healthy Home” topics in the office would be made available to the public as requested.

State Issue

Health & Nutrition

Details

  • Year: 2020
  • Geographic Scope: County
  • County: Early
  • Location: College Station, Athens
  • Program Areas:
    • Family and Consumer Sciences

Author

  • Benton, Stephanie R.
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