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Communities Succeed at Creating Healthier Environments

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CDC’s Healthy Communities Program has a successful history of investing in communities’ health and quality of life by supporting evidence – and practice-based interventions that reduce the burden of chronic disease. Through the Healthy Communities Program, coalitions collaborate with partners to educate local leaders on the importance of creating healthy places for people to live, learn, work, and play. These successes illustrate the exemplary work communities undertake.


  • Visitors to any of the 556 parks located in Chicago, Illinois, have access to vending machines that contain 100% healthy food items.
  • Prekindergarten students in Eastern Highlands, Connecticut, are provided with healthy snacks every day.
  • Nine community and school gardens and five farmers’ markets were established in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, low-income areas to increase access to fruits and vegetables.
  • Lockland School District and Princeton City Schools located in Hamilton County, Ohio, implemented Competitive Foods Guidelines, which provides healthier foods in the a la carte line and vending machines to more than 6,100 students.
  • Faith-based organizations in the African American community of Hillsborough County, Florida, worked together to increase breastfeeding by developing private rooms for nursing or pumping in addition to initiating a wellness policy with breastfeeding education and congregational support.
  • Residents in rural Montgomery County, Alabama, have increased their access to fruits and vegetables through nine community gardens located in parks and schools.
  • Healthy snacks, such as granola bars, fruits, vegetables, and water are served at all city agencies’ meetings and events in Miami, Florida.
  • Approximately 19,000 children in the O’Fallon, Missouri, schools are offered healthy choices in vending machines and lunches with fruits and vegetables available every day.
  • More than 7,200 children in the Enlarged City School District of Middletown located in Orange County, New York, have increased access to fruits and vegetables through a farm-to-school program.
  • YMCA after-school programs in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, improved access to fresh fruits and vegetables to under-resourced communities.
  • More than 6,300 people working or visiting facilities in Salinas-Monterey County, California, have healthy food options in the vending machines.
  • Approximately 1.8 million residents in Santa Clara County, California, were the first in the country to visit restaurants that stopped using toys and other incentives for kids’ meals that are high in fat, sugar, and calories.
  • Persons with developmental disabilities in Schenectady County, New York, have improved access and consumption of fresh produce by constructing wheelchair accessible raised-planting beds and creating a garden-based nutrition curriculum.
  • More than 136,000 residents in in Tacoma-Pierce County, Washington, have access to fruits and vegetables through community gardens in MetroParks.
  • Children and adults living in a 111 unit public housing complex in Alexandria, Virginia, are provided with access to healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity by weeding, watering, and picking produce from a garden.

Physical Activity

  • Approximately 99,685 community members in Davenport, Iowa, have increased access to physical activity by repaving and widening a 9-mile bike trail and adding mileage signs.
  • Through a statewide Complete Streets strategy, 86,265 Duluth, Minnesota, residents benefit from the increase in the usability of all streets for all modes of travel, for all ages and abilities.
  • Every day more than 150 residents in Harris County, Texas, use the ACHIEVE Fitness Zone—outdoor fitness equipment located in a park.
  • Improvements to the citywide trail systems and bike paths in Itasca County, Minnesota, increased access to physical activity for 45,058 residents through a statewide Complete Streets strategy.
  • Using a Complete Streets strategy to decrease obesity, 61,697 residents in Kershaw, South Carolina, have increased access to walking and bicycling with the enhanced usability of all streets in their community.
  • Approximately 47,000 students in Portland, Oregon, are required to engage in 60 minutes of daily physical activity and have unlimited access to fruits and vegetables during lunch.
  • Approximately 136,726 employees in Stark County, Ohio, have access to inside and outside mapped walking routes at more than 70 workplaces to encourage physical activity.
  • Five walking paths were created to provide 13, 763 citizens in Sumter County, Alabama, rural areas with access to safe places to exercise.
  • Two walking and biking paths were connected with downtown and northeast Wichita and 130 new bike racks were added throughout the city, including the city buses for 382,368 residents in Wichita, Kansas.


  • City of Tahlequah’s 15,753 residents in Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma, are protected from secondhand smoke in outdoor areas.
  • Families in the City of Selma (20,756 residents) located within Dallas County, Alabama, can now spend time together outdoors and not be exposed to secondhand smoke.
  • Approximately 36,648 residents in Longview, Washington, are protected from secondhand smoke in 11 of the city’s 17 parks, with the other 6 having designated tobacco-use areas.
  • More than 28,000 residents in Middleton, New York, families can enjoy the playgrounds and pools without being exposed to secondhand smoke, and repeat offenders have penalties including fines and jail terms.
  • Approximately 5,815 residents in Salamanca, New York, are protected from secondhand smoke in city parks.
  • Designated tribal housing residents in Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Michigan, are protected from secondhand smoke as the tribe became the first in Michigan to develop and adopt a smoke-free policy.
  • More than 136,000 residents in Savannah, Georgia, will benefit from a smoke-free environment in bars, private clubs, and public buildings.

Success Story Resources

  • Page last reviewed: March 13, 2017
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