In early 2011, Tinley Park was awarded a $112,000 grant from the Cook County Department of Public Health to explore public policies that improve the health of citizens. Ten community leaders have been appointed to the Mayor's Advisory Panel on Wellness, which is charged with creating a comprehensive wellness plan for our community.
The panel has researched policies and institutional relationships to explore how we can make it easier to live a healthful lifestyle in Tinley Park. The panel is currently researching topics such as joint use agreements, vending machine policies, healthful school programs, wellness policies, education and outreach, active transportation, land use planning and after-school programs. The plan is scheduled to be completed in early 2012 and will help our community set benchmarks for improving health.
Public policy change has the most impact on the community and is far more successful than educating people on healthful lifestyles or developing programs. The Mayor's panel has focused on policies that will increase options and choices for residents and has avoided talking about policies that take away options.
The panel's work is also very important to the future financial health of our community. Significant research has determined that communities promoting healthful lifestyles through infrastructure and community institutions have higher home values and happier residents.