The Healthy Homes and Schools program is designed to educate custodians, food service workers, school nurses, child care directors, nursing home managers and community health workers about the importance of connecting pest problems and the built environment when it comes to asthma, food borne illnesses and other problems.
The Built Environment is defined as human-modified places such as homes, schools, workplaces, parks, industrial areas, farms, roads, and highways which our most important habitat, since 80% of North Americans live in towns and cities and spend 90% of their time indoors. Over the past decade evidence has shown that the places we live, and work clearly affect our health. Nevertheless, causal relationships between the built environment and specific human illnesses are often difficult to ascertain.
Recent research explored the effect of improved built environments on physical activity, asthma, obesity, cardiovascular disease, lung cancer mortality, and mental health. The association between substandard housing and health has long been recognized. However, only recently has a growing body of evidence emerged suggesting that physical and mental health problems—anxiety, depression, attention deficit disorder, substance abuse, aggressive behavior, asthma, heart disease, and obesity—relate to the built environment, particularly to poor urban planning and inadequate housing. Inadequate housing, for example, may indicate that inhabitants are under significant physical and mental stress. Dilapidated housing—leaking pipes, peeling paint, or cracks and holes in ceilings—may be a stressor that affects the human immune system. (American Journal of Public Health, 2003)
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension has been committed to helping Texans learn about these issues so that they can build healthy communities. This program will focus on the importance of building repairs, what areas inside a home, school, nursing homes, child care centers and workplaces can contribute to problems like asthma, food borne illnesses, and other pest problems. This program will also give participants the tools they need to educate others – sample power points and hand out materials