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Program Overview

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Through CDC’s Healthy Communities Program, communities are working to reduce the serious problem of chronic diseases in the United States. They do this by changing the places and organizations that touch people’s lives every day—schools, work sites, health care sites, and other community settings.

Chronic Diseases and Their Risk Factors

Today, half of American adults have at least one chronic disease, such as—

  • Heart disease.
  • Stroke.
  • Diabetes.
  • Cancer.
  • Obesity.
  • Arthritis.

Chronic diseases make up 7 of the 10 leading causes of death in the United States. They cause pain, illness, and limits in daily activities.

Several factors raise a person’s risk of chronic disease, including—

  • Tobacco use and exposure.
  • Lack of physical activity.
  • Poor nutrition.

The Healthy Communities Program helps to prevent chronic diseases by working to reduce health risk factors. It also supports efforts to attain health equity—that means making sure all people can reach their full health potential.

Working Together to Reduce Chronic Diseases

CDC, local and state health departments, national organizations with ties to local communities, and community leaders and groups are joining forces to make local changes that support good health across the United States.

Learn more about the Healthy Communities Program’s national networks for community change and investments in communities.

Also find tools and resources that help communities make effective changes for better health.

A History of Investing in Community Health

Since 2003, CDC’s Healthy Communities Program (formerly known as the Steps Program) has invested in local efforts to prevent chronic disease. It has seen some exciting outcomes. Communities have shown great energy, ideas, and the desire to make the local changes needed to reduce the chronic disease burden.

Read about the Healthy Communities Program’s success stories and the program’s methods for monitoring and evaluation.

  • Page last reviewed: October 30, 2014
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