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Community Profiles

The Division of Community Health (DCH) focuses on promoting health in populations and communities that bear the greatest burden of death, disability, and chronic disease. DCH-funded programs engage the community in prevention efforts that focus on a number of issues, including nutrition, physical activity, and tobacco use.

In communities across the United States, DCH programs are making healthy living easier where people live, learn, work, and play.

Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity

Highlights to Date:
  • In collaboration with the Parks and Recreation Department, the DeKalb County Board of Health's Strategic Alliance for Health Program has increased access to healthy, affordable and locally grown foods through the establishment of the county-wide Gardens in the Park Procedures and Handbook for more than 690,000 residents in DeKalb County, Georgia. (HCP)
  • More than 600 corner stores throughout Philadelphia, Pennsylvania have increased the availability of healthier food options to 1.54 million residents, many of whom are living in neighborhoods that previously had limited access to nutritious foods. (CPPW)
  • Through Proyecto Movimiento, a program through the YMCA of Silicon Valley, CA, more than 1,500 community residents (predominately Latino) have attended free fitness events. (REACH)
  • Approximately 99,685 community members in Davenport, Iowa, have increased access to physical activity due to efforts that resulted in the improvement of a 9-mile bike trail. (HCP)
  • Seattle/King County, Washington's public education initiative called "Let's Do This" focused on motivating the community's 1.9 million residents to create healthier places to live, learn, work and play. "Let's Do This" featured messaging shared through television, radio, and billboards about the importance of healthy eating and encouraged increased water consumption. This multilingual initiative has generated more than 180 million impressions. Commonly used to describe the impact of media initiatives, "impressions" are the number of times a message has been seen. (CPPW)
  • Maui, Hawaii has increased access to affordable, healthy foods through the UpCountry Farmers' Market. The community's 5,000 SNAP recipients can now use EBT to purchase fresh produce for their families when shopping at the market. (CPPW)
  • Through a statewide Complete Streets strategy, 86,265 Duluth, Minnesota, residents benefit from the increase in the usability of streets for all modes of travel and ages. (HCP)
  • The City of San Antonio, Texas and the San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA) have entered into a joint-use agreement to allow all the city's 1.3 million residents to use four SAHA-owned walking and biking trails with fitness stations to increase access to physical activity. Prior to this agreement, the trails were accessible only to SAHA residents. (CPPW)
  • Hidalgo Medical Services "promotores" reached more than 3,000 New Mexico families with preventive and clinical services, and distributed food commodities to more than 300 families in rural communities. (REACH)
  • Tri-County Health Department in Colorado has worked with 14 school districts in the area to ensure healthier standards for foods and beverages served in school. These standards are based on Institute of Medicine recommendations which call for the provision of nutritious fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nonfat or low-fat milk. The districts also encourage non-food or healthy food-related parties or rewards in the classroom. Nearly 232,750 students now benefit from these improvements. (CPPW)
  • Wichita, Kansas's 382,368 residents are benefiting from increased access to 130 new bike racks and two walking and biking paths throughout the city. (HCP)
  • Seattle-King County, WA's Department of Health has helped create opportunities for 5,400 Latinos to engage in worksite wellness activities and attend diabetes education classes with blood pressure and cholesterol control messaging. (REACH)
  • New York City's Health Bucks coupons – a program initiated under CPPW will now be accepted at 138 farmers markets. This increase is expected to amount to more than $350,000 in free fruits and vegetables for low-income New Yorkers this season. (CPPW)
  • The New Mexico Department of Health is increasing access to physical activity opportunities for over 50,000 children by creating active outdoor school spaces for public use during non-school hours and increasing the number of Safe Routes to Schools. (CTG)
  • New York City has improved the nutritional quality of the 800,000 meals served daily in its public schools. The nutritional standards for school meals now must comply with the City Agency Food and Beverage Standards, which set requirements for the amounts of sodium, fat, and calories contained in the foods and beverages served. (CPPW)
  • Using a Complete Streets strategy to decrease obesity, 61,697 residents in Kershaw, South Carolina, have increased access to walking and biking with the enhanced usability of all streets in the community. (HCP)
  • Mount Sinai School of Medicine screened over 1,000 New York, NY adults for pre-diabetes. Individuals diagnosed as pre-diabetic or diabetic were referred to peer-led local workshops proven to control diabetes and result in significant, sustained weight loss. (REACH)
  • 1.1 million students now benefit by having access to low-fat/skim milk in all New York City public schools. (REACH)
  • To date, 33 hospitals in New York City have participated in the "Latch on NYC" initiative to support a mother's choice to breastfeed and limit the promotion of infant formula, benefiting approximately 100,000 mothers and newborns each year. (CTG)
  • African Americans Building a Legacy of Health (AABLH) Consortium in Los Angeles, California works to increase access to healthy and affordable food and beverages through efforts to change institutional practices and promote local investment. Specifically, these efforts have helped to leverage support from California's $200 million Fresh Food Financing Fund that seeks to eliminate food deserts and fight childhood obesity. (REACH)
  • South Carolina now has an additional 75 primary care practices who have signed a Business Associates Agreement that will ensure delivery of high blood pressure and high cholesterol care to 300,000 adults and 150,000 pediatric patients. The agreement is with the Outpatient Quality Improvement Network (OQUIN) and will adopt model policies consistent with USPSTF guidelines in order to control high blood pressure and high cholesterol. (CTG)
  • Pima County, Arizona's 600,000 residents are benefitting from a 55-mile, multi-use active transportation pathway around the metro Tucson area called the Loop. CPPW efforts contributed toward infrastructure planning for the Loop and for the launching of a public awareness initiative to let community members know of its existence and to encourage its use. (CPPW)
  • Boston's Community Asthma Initiative addresses health disparities in neighborhoods and schools most affected by asthma. Through their efforts, not only were school absences greatly reduced, but there was a 68% decrease in asthma-related emergency-department visits and an 84% decrease in hospitalizations. (REACH)
  • In Choctaw Nation, Oklahoma, the Going Lean Task Force encourages and promotes health and fitness among over 8000 tribal members and employees through community forums, community gardens, and physical activity events. These efforts have reached over 400 American Indian youth with health education information on cardiovascular disease prevention and skills that promote healthy lifestyles. (REACH)
  • Miami/Dade County, Florida created the Urban Design Manual II for civic development that incorporates Great Streets Planning Principals from the Parks and Open Space Master Plan to ensure more access to physical activity opportunities for the county's 2.5 million residents. Among other aims, the Manual details design principals, such as clearly defined crosswalks and signals, to provide safe routes to neighborhood parks. (CPPW)
  • South Carolina's Charleston and Georgetown Counties, through the Medical University, have implemented education system changes for people with diabetes, specifically by increasing knowledge and awareness around diabetes care and prevention. These efforts resulted in a 44% reduction in amputations among African. (REACH)
  • Approximately 12,000 students and their families in Las Cruces, New Mexico have access to safe, physical activity space during non-school hours. Signs promoting the use of this space are being posted in all 25 elementary schools. (CTG)
  • Cook County, Illinois is developing a comprehensive and integrated network of transportation options that support walking, biking, and public transit in adherence to Complete Streets principles. Such changes will improve bicycle and pedestrian safety for the community's 5 million residents. (CPPW)
  • The YMCA of Metro Chicago, Illinois has enacted new physical activity and nutrition guidelines for after-school programs. Youth must now spend at least 20% of their time participating in physical activity while at the program. In addition, nutrition standards are aligned with Alliance for a Healthier Generation Guidelines which call for more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as well as healthy beverages. An estimated 55,000 youth are members of Metro Chicago YMCA. (CPPW)
  • More than 10,000 students in the David Douglas School District in Multnomah County, Oregon now benefit from increased physical activity, as elementary and middle school students will participate in at least 150 minutes per week of physical. (CPPW)

Tobacco Use and Prevention

Highlights to Date:
  • Harford County, Maryland has ensured that 1,000 employees and 245,000 residents benefit from smoke-free protections on all properties owned, leased, and operated by the county, including indoor and outdoor recreation facilities. (CTG)
  • The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene found that their efforts begun under the Communities Putting Prevention to Work program and continuing in the CTG Program have reduced smoking in select City parks by two-thirds and reduced tobacco-related litter by two-thirds, protecting the city’s inhabitants and visitors from second hand smoke in parks (CPPW/CTG)
  • In St. Louis County, Missouri, the “Let’s Face It” awareness initiative educated community members about the health benefits associated with smoke-free public spaces and promoted the use of Missouri Tobacco Quitline to the community’s 319,000 residents. In addition to messages shared through television, radio, and print, the initiative also launched the website which featured tobacco cessation resources and youth testimonials about the benefits of smoke-free living. The program yielded a total of 451 million impressions across all media. (CPPW)
  • Over 51,000 students, 24,000 faculty and staff, and annual visitors to the University of Texas Austin (including those to sporting events and arts performances) are now protected from second hand smoke and other tobacco-related exposures. (CTG)
  • Individuals and families living in Santa Clara County, CA can now enjoy smoke-free parks, outdoor restaurant patios, and other outdoor public areas. These changes benefit 1.7 million residents throughout the county (CPPW)
  • The City of Tahlequah's 15,753 residents in Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma, are protected from secondhand smoke in outdoor areas. (HCP)
  • Boston, Massachusetts now treats electronic cigarettes like tobacco products and restricts their sale to adults only. In addition, individual cigars, cigarettes, or bidis may not be sold and fines are doubled for retailers who sell tobacco products to anyone under age 18, benefitting 753,500 individuals. (CPPW)
  • The 199,000 residents in Tacoma, WA’s PenMet area now benefit from smoke-free protections in all parks. Signs are being placed in the 21 parks in the area to notify residents of these benefits. (CTG)
  • City University of New York is now the largest smoke-free public university system in the United States impacting 23 campuses, 262,000 academic-credit students, 38,000 faculty/staff, and tens of thousands of non-credit students and community members that visit and use CUNY campuses each year who can now enjoy a tobacco-free environment. (CTG)
  • 685 residents of Billings, MT now benefit from smoke-free protections in and around all public housing buildings. (CTG)