Engage Your Community
The Community Healthy Living Index helps transform your community into a place where making the healthy choice is the easy choice.
As a Senator who has made prevention and well-being one of my top priorities, I commend YMCA of the USA for providing communities with a comprehensive tool to assess and improve their environments so residents can better attain a healthy lifestyle and prevent disease and disability. We need the healthy choice to be the easy choice in all our communities. The Community Healthy Living Index will contribute greatly to local leaders’ ability to plan and build healthy communities.Tom Harkin
United States Senator, Iowa
and Honorary Chair, YMCA’s Activate America
The crisis is urgent. Our time is short. Too many of us live unhealthy lives that lead to chronic disease, disability, and premature death. Unhealthy eating and sedentary lifestyle are two of the most important issues that must be addressed. Further delay will lead to preventable harm to the youth of America and ultimately to our entire nation. YMCA of the USA collaborated with researchers at Stanford, Harvard, and Saint Louis Universities to develop the Community Healthy Living Index as a tool for community leaders to assess and improve opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity. How does your community measure up?
Wesley F. Alles, PhD
Director, Stanford Health Improvement Program
and Senior Research Scholar, Stanford University
Hospitals continue to be a committed community partner with YMCAs and key stakeholders to build environments that help Americans make the healthy choice the easy choice. The Community Healthy Living Index is a major asset in those efforts.
President and CEO, American Hospital Association
The Community Healthy Living Index will be a powerful tool to promote healthy living and ultimately can help us in our efforts to prevent and control chronic disease and obesity. As the Institute of Medicine recommended in its 2006 report Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity, it is essential that we find ways to assess our community environments for factors that support or hinder healthy living. This tool helps us do just that.
Chronic disease directors look forward to working with YMCAs and other local leaders to facilitate this process of community change in support of healthy living.
Marcus Plescia, MD, MPH
Past President, National Association of Chronic Disease
Directors and Section Chief, Chronic Disease and Injury
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
Evidence shows a clear connection between the living environment of individuals and their health, but local solutions vary—one size does not fit all. Through its long tradition of community-building, the YMCA knows which programs most effectively break down barriers, lower disease rates, and help people make healthier choices, no matter where they live. The YMCA’s Community Healthy Living Index gives Americans the means to take action, make their neighborhoods live up to their potential, and help America be as healthy as it can be.
Jeffrey Levi, PhD
Executive Director, Trust for America’s Health
Active Living by Design helps community coalitions across the country in their efforts to create environments that foster active living and healthy eating. The Community Healthy Living Index can help all communities measure, plan, implement, and assess opportunities for physical activity and healthy eating where people live, work, learn, and play.
Sarah Strunk, MHA
Director, Active Living by Design
Assessments are an essential part of creating healthier communities because they equip people with the knowledge they need to successfully advocate for positive community change. In Michigan, the Promoting Active Communities assessment tool has been used by more than 85 communities as one of the first steps to create active living environments; the Community Healthy Living assessment tools created by the YMCA will help communities across the nation to create healthier places and ensure that all residents are able to lead healthy lifestyles.
President and CEO
Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness,
Health, and Sports, Michigan
Chronic diseases have enormous human and economic costs for our country. Millions of lives are lost prematurely each year, quality of life is reduced, and our health care system is buckling under the weight of the costs to treat these conditions. We hope this tool is helpful to Ys and their community partners across the nation in their efforts to address the burden of chronic disease within their communities.
Janet Collins, PhD
Former Director, National Center for Chronic Disease
Prevention and Health Promotion
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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The YMCA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.