Cities play a central role in reversing the trend toward sedentary behavior and high-calorie diets, both contributors to obesity and other chronic diseases. City land-use decisions around planning, zoning, and infrastructure investment directly affect residents’ health influencing access to everyday physical activity such as walking and biking, availability of open space for recreation, and access to healthy food.
The Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Cities Campaign, funded by Kaiser Permanente and other partners, supports cities in their efforts to improve the physical environment and give residents more opportunities to be physically active and eat healthful foods. The program builds awareness among city officials about the role of the physical environment in promoting healthy habits and provides them with an array of practical support in adopting and implementing city policies that make it easier for residents to engage in healthy behaviors.
Established in 2008 in California as a result of partnership between the League of California Cities and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, the campaign model has been disseminated to several other Kaiser Permanente communities, including Colorado, Oregon, and the Washington, D.C. metro area. Each regional HEAL Cities Campaign is a partnership between the state municipal league and a public health organization.
As of June 2014, across all the HEAL Cities communities, 171 city councils, one county and one school board had joined the campaign, and 284 HEAL policies have been adopted related to land use, access to healthy food, and/or employee wellness.
Visit the HEAL Cities Campaign website to learn more.