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Health and Our Economy

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

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There is a strong link between the physical health of a community’s population and its economic health.  This link has been studied frequently at a macro level involving countries and continents, but it is often overlooked at the local level.   Local businesses, however, are recognizing the importance of healthy workers and their families because it matters in terms of productivity and the potential pool of both employees and customers.

Employees who are sick cannot come to work or, if they do report to their jobs, are less productive and might risk spreading a sickness.  Further, if adequate care is not provided for things like pregnancy, injury, mental health, and disease then more time, money, and energy is spent away from the workplace.  Businesses are left with lower productivity and the employees may lose earnings that support their families.  The downstream effect is that people who are unable to work due to illness, injury, or health conditions are less able to live a robust life and enjoy the many opportunities here in western Wisconsin.  They will also be less likely to have disposable income or even enough money to pay common bills such as housing and food.

There are many ways to increase the health of our communities and, in turn, assist the local economy.  For example, initiatives aimed at reducing smoking, drinking, drug use, and stress are helpful in keeping people healthy and able to work.  Increasing exercise, improving dietary habits, and better education about health care are also influential factors related to the overall health of a region.

Having access to quality care is also critical.  We are fortunate in Polk County to have impressive hospitals in Amery, Osceola, and St. Croix Falls… not to mention various clinics throughout the county.  Proximity can be a key factor in whether or not people seek care.  Hence, it is beneficial to us all to keep our medical facilities and healthcare professionals close to home.  They provide valuable care and services while also providing jobs, talent, and resources that benefit all of us in Polk County.  Any potential resident, whether a business or individual, will consider the availability of quality healthcare in their decision.

The old saying that goes, “I may not be wealthy, but at least I have my health,” rings true for many of us.  The thing to remember is that if we achieve and maintain excellent health, we have a better chance to also achieve better wealth.

The Polk County Economic Development Corporation is a public-private organization that was created to encourage and promote economic development and capital investment, create and retain quality jobs, enhance the tax base and facilitate positive sustainable growth throughout Polk County, Wisconsin.

Category: PCEDC Blog