Role of environmental health professionals in improving the built environment

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Environmental health professionals (EHPs) have always played a critical role in protecting the public’s health by preventing outbreaks, responding to environmental emergencies, and enforcing public health standards. Traditionally, this role has not focused on improving the built environment, which is the physical environment where people live, work, and play. The design of the built environment, however, affects physical activity and obesity, air pollution and respiratory diseases, injuries, mental health, social capital, and environmental justice (Frumkin, Frank, & Jackson, 2004). Therefore, EHPs can increase their impact on public health if they expand their role to address the built environment.

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