We at the Independence Health Department are striving to bring public health into the 21st century and beyond.
In 2011, the Health Department launched the Building a Healthier Independence initiative, which aims to increase access to healthy foods, increase opportunities for physical activity and decrease the use of tobacco products among residents of Independence. The initiative fosters collaboration among various city departments, community organizations, and businesses to improve the health of residents.
Now, the Building a Healthier Independence initiative has a new tool: the Get Healthy Independence mobile app.
Our Community Health Assessment performed in 2011 shed light on health problems in Independence and identified obesity as a top priority. This led us to find innovative ways to address the issue. After collaboration with the city’s Technology Services and Parks and Recreation departments, the result was Get Healthy Independence.
The Get Healthy Independence app currently has five core features: parks, trails, community gardens, farmer’s markets and walking programs. For example:
• After selecting parks, you can search by features or location to find the perfect park for you or your family out of the 45 Independence parks.
• Finding the right trail is easier than ever with the trails function and the ability to search by length, loop or nature trail.
• There are four community gardens and three farmers’ markets shown by list or map view with timely information so anyone can participate.
• The walking programs feature allows you to stay up-to-date with all the locations of The Mile Starts Here walking program, which changes every Wednesday from May to October.
All the features can be viewed by map, making it easier to find locations near you. Once you find the perfect location, the app can also provide you with instant directions for all five of the features.
Improving access to healthy activities is at the core of Building a Healthier Independence, as well as many other Health Department activities. Going forward, we are constantly looking to further our partnership with the City of Independence Technology Services Department and Parks and Recreation Department by adding to and modifying the app.
While farmers’ markets, community gardens, and walking programs have ended for the winter; make sure to stay tuned in the spring as we are constantly updating information on the app.
Look for our Get Healthy Independence commercial with Missouri Mavericks players and Mac, the team mascot, at all their home games or www.independencemo.org/health. To download the app on your phone, just search “Get Healthy Independence” in the Google play store or Apple app store.
Larry Jones, MPH, is the director of the Independence Health Department.