Healthy Weight: Information for Municipalities

Municipalities can help residents eat smart and move more. Municipal governments can set policies that improve the health of residents. Decisions about zoning, transportation, land use and community design influence access to healthy foods and opportunities to engage in physical activity, and should be made with the health of residents in mind.

What you should do

Build community capacity to make policy and environmental changes

Assess your community’s food and activity environment and develop an action plan to make eating smart and moving easier for residents.

Implement an action plan using:

  • Joint Use Agreements to encourage schools and communities to share physical activity resources, such as gymnasiums available to the community after hours and on weekends
  • Safe Routes to School to encourage children to safely walk and bike to school.
  • Plans for safe and welcoming parks and green spaces to improve physical and psychological health, strengthen the community, and make neighborhoods healthier places to live, work, and play.
  • Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design principles can help improve neighborhood safety.
  • Urban Agriculture to encourage urban dwellers to develop gardens that grow fresh fruits and vegetables
  • A strategy to encourage full service supermarkets can be encouraged to locate in underserved neighborhoods.

Ensure your community’s Comprehensive Plan considers healthy eating and active living.

Consider health needs in the comprehensive planning process. Use these tools to help you:

  • Health Impact Assessments evaluate the health impact of projects before they are implemented.
  • Design for Health’s website includes tools to integrate health into planning and environmental design, including checklists, presentations, example comprehensive plans, and case studies.
  • Complete Parks Playbook to increase community outdoor activities and engagement.

Implement a Complete Streets policy to ensure that the design and operation of the roadways keeps all users in mind – bicyclists, public transportation vehicles, wheelchair users, riders and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

Implement policies to limit unhealthy foods in communities through zoning