Place matters, and LiveWell Colorado’s goal is to inspire healthy eating and physical activity in the places where we live, work, learn and play.

There is a significant correlation between the places where we spend our time ‚Äì our “built environment” ‚Äì and our health. The phrase “built environment” refers to the human-made surroundings that provide the setting for human activity ranging in scale from personal shelter to neighborhoods to larger-scale civic surroundings.

When our environments are beautiful, safe and conducive to physical activity, we have powerful incentives to walk, play, ride a bike and generally spend more time outdoors. But when environments are less aesthetically pleasing or when we perceive them to be unsafe, they can actually deter us from engaging in physical activity.

This is where graffiti makes an impact.

Graffiti is an aesthetic issue. It is an issue of perception of safety in some places, and actual safety in others. When people engage in physical activity, they generally seek an environment that is aesthetically pleasing, but they also absolutely require an environment in which they feel safe.

By supporting efforts to reduce or eliminate graffiti, we will build and sustain environments that are conducive to physical activity. For this reason, LiveWell Colorado supports SB11-256, Allowing a Graffiti Offender to Be Charged with Defacing Property Based on Aggregate Damage Caused over Multiple Criminal Episodes.

Though this legislation is certainly not the “magic bullet” that will reverse our obesity epidemic, it is a strong step in the right direction in making sure all our citizens have the opportunity to be active in their communities.

It is time to focus on building environments that support healthy eating and active living. Graffiti has got to go.