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Seniors help build a blueprint for a healthier city

Seniors help build a blueprint for a healthier city

With the help of a Stanford study on healthy aging, low-income residents of a Northern Californian senior housing facility have become fresh food crusaders, revitalizing their community garden and working with city planners to make it easier to walk to the local farmers’ market.

Seeking to reduce the health-related challenges associated with “food deserts” — low-socioeconomic areas with limited access to quality food — a Stanford research team was looking for ways to empower seniors in East Palo Alto to work with city planners to remove obstacles in the way of walking, shopping and eating healthier foods.

To help document hazards like dangerous intersections and impassable sidewalks, Stanford researchers developed an Android-based software application that allows community advocates wielding smartphones and tablet computers to take pictures of hazards, make voice recordings describing what needs to be fixed, then upload them to a map on a website, so it can be shared at town hall meetings or with city planners.

Think of it as crowd-sourcing with seniors.

You can read more about the Stanford Healthy Neighborhood Tool in this week’s Inside Stanford Medicine.

Previously: Study presents new evidence of how physical activity benefits heart health in seniors and An edible forest grows in Richmond: Urban gardening program teaches kids about food, nutrition

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