Thriving together calls for wellness across the lifespan

Elevating health and wellness across the lifespan 

January 13, 2022

The year 2021 is behind us, and while it may seem like the new year is starting off the same, there are glimmers of hope. 

We know recent government investments will be vital in mobilizing toward better health. And while these dollars can make a big impact, remember that our best hope for improvement in the public health sphere is to organize around and advocate for the fact that all people and places must be thriving together to create a better future. 

What does this mean? Thriving together means that all individuals, at all ages, have a chance to engage and prosper in their communities. 

HCCC communities have taken the idea of wellness across the lifespan into account when addressing food access concerns, as nutrition plays a vital role in reducing the risk of chronic disease:

  • Dougherty County, Georgia is working with their local housing authority to provide home food deliveries for seniors with transportation and/or accessibility issues.
  • In Deerfield Beach, Florida, students and interns are being mentored in food waste and recovery to encourage youth leadership, education and advocacy.
  • In Cambria County, Pennsylvania, community health workers are supporting pregnant women and their family members by referring them to the appropriate services needed to address food insecurity and other health needs through their local community hub. 

These communities are elevating unique health and wellness needs to address contributors to chronic disease in their communities across the lifespan. 

COVID-19 lessons learned

Among the many lessons emerging from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic: there are gaps we need to address to equitably recover. Otherwise, our disjointed systems will continue, resulting in inequities that affect all aspects of wellness (physical, emotional, social, etc.), all of which contribute to poor health throughout the lifespan. 

With just COVID alone, we can see how different age groups have been impacted by the pandemic. While the virus itself posed the biggest threat to older adults, the emotional consequences of the pandemic seem to have hit younger people the hardest, with massive spikes in cases of depression, anxiety and behavioral issues.

Recovering from the pandemic and establishing a stronger foundation for public health requires that we work collectively to become stewards of better health for all individuals. We must think about how to elevate the work around health issues relevant to different age groups, and advocate for the public health policies, programs and practices that can promote wellness for all ages.

Our efforts must acknowledge the complex roles that social, political and economic inequities play in shaping health and opportunities for people to thrive. Health inequities — by race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status — exist at every stage of life, accumulate over time and affect both the length and quality of people’s lives. 

And while it is necessary to work together and across boundaries to change systems and meet the health needs of all individuals, don’t forget the smaller steps you can take in just your personal life for both yourself and the people around you to encourage better health and wellness this new year. Get your body moving, practice self-care and stay hydrated!

As we all work to elevate health and wellness across the lifespan, join us in celebrating APHA’s 150 years of impact on the public health landscape. Learn more at

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