Healthy Communities Program
Review & Distribution of Healthy Communities Evaluation
Review and distribute results of the Healthy Communities evaluation with all seven participating cities by July 31, 2017.
Development of a Healthy Communities Strategic Plan
Develop and disseminate a Healthy Communities strategic plan focused on improving access to healthy foods and active living to 20 community partners by December 31, 2017.
Active Participation in Healthy Communities Meetings
Achieve a partner attendance rate of at least 50% annually for Healthy Communities meetings by June 30, 2020.
Why is this important?
Nearly one out of three county residents has had high blood pressure and about one out of ten residents have been diagnosed with diabetes, according to a statewide survey conducted in 2017¹. While there are several risk factors for these conditions, poor nutrition and obesity are major factors. Obesity is an issue in the county with about two out of three adults being considered overweight or obese, according to the same survey² . In addition, two out of five students (in grades 5, 7 and 9) are considered overweight or obese³.
The community is a major influence on the health of its residents. Lack of areas for play, healthy foods and public transit can contribute to rates of obesity and chronic disease. It is important that efforts be made to promote healthy communities to address the health of its residents.
A Healthy Community is one that promotes a positive physical, social and economic environment that supports the well-being of its members. At its core is a focus on health, where every decision – city policy, development plan, building or public works project – is made with careful consideration of the impact on residents' health. Key features of a Healthy Community may include:
- Walk-able and bike-able communities with complete streets
- Town centers or community focal points
- Transportation options; access to public transit
- Healthy schools (promoting nutrition/physical activity)
- Parks, open space, public spaces
- Worksite wellness initiatives
- Access to nutritious food (farmers markets, community gardens)
- Adequate housing
- Community programs (recreation, nutrition, education)
- Access to health care
In 2006, the Healthy Communities Program began as a countywide strategic effort to create healthy environments and promote healthy lifestyles. Since then, the program has worked together with local cities on strategies to improve the health and well-being of local residents. The program serves as a central resource for communities’ efforts to become healthy places to live, work, learn and play.
How are we doing?
An evaluation of the Healthy Communities Program was completed in March 2017 and the findings were shared with the seven participating cities that were evaluated and with the community. The evaluation is linked below and is also available on the Healthy Communities website.
Information from the evaluation report was used to create a Healthy Communities strategic plan. The plan serves as a resource and a set of action steps for the department to use when engaging and collaborating with communities during the policy development process. DPH tracked the distribution of the strategic plan to all 19 healthy city partners. The strategic plan was also disseminated at a Healthy Communities quarterly meeting.
Every quarter, Healthy Communities Program meetings are held to provide community partners with support, resources and networking opportunities. The aim is to have at least half of the county’s 24 cities and towns (partners) attend a Healthy Communities meeting. In fiscal year 2017-18, the program achieved a 54% partner attendance rate. Currently, the Healthy Communities Program is working on achieving at least a 50% attendance rate for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
What can you do?
All cities are encouraged to use the strategic plan as a resource and a set of action steps to work collaboratively with DPH during the policy development and implementation process. Cities can use the evaluation and its recommendations to either strengthen, sustain or create a Healthy Cities program, as well as to sustain Healthy Communities efforts within their city.
Last Update: 01/28/2020