Healthier Communities Initiative Guide: Linking Policy and Environmental Strategies to Health Outcomes

Our Healthier Communities Initiatives are built on the concept that local communities can work together to give all community members healthy choices and support the pursuit of healthy lifestyles.  More than 160 Ys are working in collaboration with community leaders to make changes in policies and the physical surroundings in those communities so that healthy living is within reach for individuals of all ages and backgrounds.




Guide: Linking Policy and Environmental Strategies to Health Outcomes

Over the years, YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) has been asked by numerous communities for help in making the case for pursuing strategies to improve healthy eating and active living.  Pursuing these strategies can be a challenging task because their results are often not immediate.  

If desired health outcomes are not immediately seen by decision makers, how do communities convey the potentially significant impact strategies can have on the long-term health and well-being of the community? What evidence can communities provide their decision makers to help demonstrate the positive health effects that can result from pursuing these strategies in their community? 

This resource provides the scientific evidence that can help collaborations or coalitions make the case about the need for and efficacy of strategies to reduce the prevalence of chronic disease in their communities.




COMPLETE GUIDE

 

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I. INTRODUCTION

 

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Active Living Strategies
   
     
II. ACTIVE LIVING STRATEGIES    

Select a strategy title on the left to read online, or download the strategy as a PDF on the right.

   
     

1: Increase Mixed Land Use

 

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2: Increase Access to Recreational Facilities/Sites

 

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3: Improve Built Environment to Support Walking

 

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4: Improve Built Environment to Support Biking

 

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5: Locate Schools Within Easy Walking Distance of Residential Areas

 

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6: Require Physical Education in Schools

 

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7: Increase Physical Activity in Physical Education

 

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8: Provide Professional Development of Staff to Improve Physical Education Instruction in Schools

 

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9: Increase Opportunities for Physical Activity Outside of Physical Education

 

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10: Increase Active Commuting to School

 

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11: Improve Access to Public Transportation

 

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12: Improve Traffic Safety Through Traffic Calming Measures

 

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13: Provide Safe Places to Be Physically Active

 

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14: Provide Opportunities for Physical Activity at the Worksite

 

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15: Improve Worksite Built Environment to Support Physical Activity

 

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16: Use Point-of-Decision Prompts to Promote Stair Use

 

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17: Reduce Screen Time

 

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18: Implement Campaigns on Physical Activity Across Many Venues of the Community

 

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Active Living Strategies
   
     

III. HEALTHY EATING STRATEGIES

   
     

Select a strategy title on the left to read online, or download the strategy as a PDF on the right.

   

1: Increase Participation in Government-Sponsored Nutrition Programs

 

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2: Improve Mechanisms for Purchasing Foods from Farmers’ Markets and Farms

 

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3: Improve Access to Supermarkets in Underserved Areas

 

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4: Increase Access to Drinking Water

 

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5: Increase and Promote Healthy Food and Beverage Options in Cafeterias in Schools and Worksites

 

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6: Reduce Availability of Less Healthy Foods and Beverages

 

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7: Redesign Cafeteria and Identify Healthy Options

 

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8: Provide Professional Development of Staff to Increase Healthy Eating Opportunities in Schools

 

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9: Increase and Promote Healthy Food Options in Restaurants

 

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10: Provide Nutrition Information on Menus and Products

 

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11: Serve Appropriately Portioned Sizes of Food

 

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12: Increase and Promote Healthy Food Options in Corner Stores

 

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13: Increase and Promote Healthy Foods and Beverages in Vending Machines

 

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14: Reduce Advertisements of Unhealthy Foods and Beverages

 

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15: Encourage Reduced Prices of Healthy Foods and Beverages in Food Outlets

 

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16: Increase Support for Breastfeeding

 

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17: Implement Campaigns on Healthy Eating Across Many Venues of the Community

 

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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.