Healthy Communities: Wellness Across the Life Span

What is wellness?
Wellness is more than health; it is living fully. Wellness is more than being free from illness. It is an active process of change and growth and involves becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life.

In the places where we live, many of us are surrounded by essential ingredients to a healthy life, such as adequate housing and public transportation, quality health care, and safe places to exercise and play. These ingredients, or factors, are called the social determinants of health and include conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age. Social determinants of health affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. Through Healthy Communities initiatives, Virginia Department of Health (VDH), is addressing the social determinants of health by:

1. Increasing access to healthy lifestyle opportunities:

  • Breastfeeding
  • Nutrition
  • Physical Activity

2. Engaging with the community in four settings:

  • Early Care Education Centers (ECEs)
  • Schools
  • Worksites
  • Local Communities

Plan for Wellbeing
Health begins where Virginians live, work, and play. Virginia’s Plan for Well-Being lays out the foundation for giving everyone a chance to live a healthy life. The plan highlights specific goals and strategies on which communities can focus so the state can make measurable health improvement by 2020. Every Virginian deserves the opportunity to be healthy, and you, too, can help make that possible. Join us in this effort to assure well-being for all Virginians.

Progress Aims:
Aim 1. Healthy, Connected Communities
Aim 2. Strong Start for Children
Aim 3. Preventive Actions
Aim 4. System of Health Care

More on the Plan for Wellbeing

Virginia Shared Agenda
The Virginia Shared Agenda, modeled after the National Prevention Strategy, is designed to address the major elements that impact an individual’s health and well-being, and to bring partners and organizations together across sectors (e.g., government, business and industry, and community and faith-based organizations) to prioritize and align resources so that Virginia can become the healthiest state in the nation. By working together, limited resources can be leveraged and maximized. Complex social, economic, and environmental problems can be addressed in a more effective manner, and strategies can be better coordinated and integrated to have a greater impact on health outcomes.

This Virginia Shared Agenda is directed towards all sectors in Virginia, state or local, public or private, and serves as Virginia’s plan for better health and wellness. By aligning our priorities and collaborating with one another, we can integrate the most effective efforts to enable and empower Virginians to make healthy choices for lifelong wellness. Prevention Strategy:

Healthy Eating
Active Living
Emotional Well-Being
Tobacco Free Living
Preventing Drug Abuse
Reproductive and Sexual Health
Injury and Violence Free Living