I encourage voters to ask candidates for all offices what they will do if elected to improve health in Louisiana and Acadiana. With that information provided to us, we can cast healthy votes.

Health status among Louisiana senior citizens is ranked 50th in the country, and our health status overall is ranked No. 48, according to national reports released in 2015. Teen pregnancy and birth rates, HIV/AIDS rates and preventable chronic disease rates are among the highest in the country. Acadiana contributes to those poor state health statistics. It’s time for change!

Our low health status produces negative economic impacts. It affects business and personal prosperity. Worker productivity is well-documented to be lower among unhealthy populations than among healthy populations. Progressive, health-conscious industries, thus, bypass Louisiana, and Acadiana, for more health-enlightened locations.

Personal, community and workplace health choices can lead to academic success, more worker productivity and positive economic impacts. Most importantly, those choices can save lives by preventing early deaths from obesity, cancer and tobacco-related illnesses.

Healthier communities equal a healthier Louisiana. We need commitments to enacting environmental, systemic and policy changes for better health outcomes. Let’s elect health-conscious candidates who will move Acadiana, and Louisiana, in a healthy, progressive direction. Merci beaucoup!

Jeanne Claire Solis

chairwoman, LA Healthy Communities Coalition — Acadiana/Region 4