5 for Friday: A Clean Bill of Health?
In case you missed our tweets, audiograms, emails, carrier pigeons, smoke signals, and subliminal messages, we launched a podcast this week! Basic rundown:
The first three episodes are out now
It's a 10-episode limited series (so get it while it's hot!)
Each episode is right around 30 minutes (a commute for your commute!)
First half of each episode takes you a long with a Twin Cities commuter; second half of each episode takes you for a deep-dive into the policy, programs, and external factors that need to be considered/challenged/re-imagined/implemented
Pretty amazing stuff that's approaching 1000 listens in the first week -- join the ride!
Because the time of each podcast is limited, we're going to dedicate our upcoming 5 for Friday recaps to serving as companion posts to each track. This week we'll start with Episode 1 | Health which featured Minneapolis bikers Selam and Darius and Advocacy and Health Equity Principal at Blue Cross Blue Shield Vayong Moua.
If you were as surprised as I was by the assessment Vayong offered in his interview of Minnesota as a healthy, happy state, you're not alone. The Minnesota Daily recently published an article that points out exactly what Vayong illuminated for us: we may not be quite as great as we think we are and simply patting ourselves on the back for being at the top of a 'fit' list isn't helping tackle equity issues.
The Star Tribune asked a similar question in February of this year when it outlined the inequity in healthcare we face in Minnesota: 'Despite welcome gains in the rate of doctors counseling overweight children of all racial backgrounds, the [Minnesota Community Measurement’s 2017 health equity] report demonstrated that black and American Indian Minnesotans continued to have poorer outcomes on almost every clinical measure, from diabetes and vascular care to asthma control and colorectal cancer screening'.
In the commute portion of the episode, Selam and Darius comment on being bicyclists of color and how they often feel they are alone as such. Streets MN posted a piece in April reflecting on the lack of diversity up and down the Midtown Greenway and wondering why such an accessible and geographically broad piece of infrastructure doesn't reflect a more diverse patronage.
On the topic of biking, I enjoyed this recent article from the Star Tribune on the economic and health effects bicycling has on our community. If you've never thought being a biking commuter was for you, maybe this will compel you to truly consider it: biking to work three times a week was associated with a 32 percent lower likelihood of obesity and 28 percent lower risk of high blood pressure.
The biggest takeaway from this first episode was, for me anyway, we have a lot to be proud of as Minnesotans but that doesn't mean we don't have a lot of work to do, too. If you're wondering about next steps, check out some of the organizations mentioned in this episode: Nice Ride MN, We Bike MPLS podcast, Cycles for Change, and Grease Rag.
Next week: Digging into electric vehicles.