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Stair Poster to Promote Health Through Design

Posted April 18, 2013 in Public


Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) has released a stair prompt signage design to promote active living in Western Michigan. Graphic images promoting healthy behavior have been shown to motivate stair users, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The message in the signage, “Get Healthy, Save the Earth, Take the Stairs!” also points to a greener option, the stairs, over energy consuming elevators. A stair week is planned for early September to raise awareness.

According to national research on health-promoting architecture, six studies evaluated the relationship between people’s perception of the environment and physical activity. Overall, the median improvement in some aspect of physical activity was 35 percent given a perceived safer, inviting environment. In active building design research, men who climbed at least 20 floors per week (four floors per work day) can lower their risk of stroke and death from all causes by 20 percent. The American Institute of Architects released a report last December titled “Local Leaders, Healthier Communities Through Design.”

The KCAD poster design was selected by a multidisciplinary, intersectoral partnership consisting of health professionals, educators and designers. The jury members are: Max Shangle, Dean of the College, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University; Bryan W. Koehn, AIA, Director of Design, Progressive AE; Mariposa Davis, Graphic Design Specialist, Mercy Health; David King, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, Graphic Design Area Head, Grand Valley State University; Lisa Stefanovsky, M.Ed, Public Health Administrator/Health Officer, Ottawa County Health Department; Kenneth Kraus, MPA, Public Health Director, Muskegon County; and Adam London, RS, MPA, Administrative Health Officer, Kent County Health Department. The jury was convened by Joyce Lee, FAIA, LEED AP, Green Health Chair of the American Institute of Architects, Grand Rapids.

“The value we perceive in any activity encourages or discourages us from engaging in that activity. Design helps us perceive that value. The design of a poster, in this case, helps us see the importance of something so small as taking the stairs, which saves energy, helps the environment and keeps us fit. I am pleased that this distinguished jury found a poster that may help us all take actions that will improve the health in West Michigan and so benefit everyone, as well as the individual,” said David Rosen, Ph.D., President of Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University.

"Our mission as a health system is to build a healthier community, and we can't do it alone. This project is a great example of cooperation among organizations to raise awareness about being healthy,” Roger Spoelman, Regional President and CEO for Mercy Health.

“Stair posters at the point of decision are environmental design cues that will also reduce carbon footprints. The US Green Building Council has recently taken the lead to introduce a LEED pilot credit called Design for Active Occupants. I thank my colleagues, Wayman Britt, Brad Thomas, and Mary Boyd, fellows with the National Leadership Academy for Public’s Health in this initiative,” said Joyce Lee, FAIA, LEED AP.