Healthy Communities Policy Guide
APA's Healthy Communities Policy Guide identifies policy ideas for local, state, and
federally elected officials aimed at improving community health and quality of living
APA believes "healthy communities" are places where all individuals have access
to healthy built, social, economic, and natural environments that give them the
opportunity to live their fullest potential regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender,
income, age, abilities, or other socially defined circumstance.
The conditions in which people live, work, and age have a greater role in a community’s
health than individual behaviors and clinical care. Planners and policy makers influence
these determinants of health through decisions such as, land use, urban design, and
transportation, which affect local air quality, water quality and supply, transportation
safety, and access to physical activity, healthy food, and affordable housing, among many
other quality of life indicators.
The Healthy Communities Policy Guide addresses challenges derived from our built, social,
and natural environment, provides recommendations for policies to address the social
determinants of health by improving opportunities for physical activity and access to
healthy food, which enables numerous social equity benefits, and helps policy makers at
all levels of government better integrate health considerations into planning processes
Share this action-oriented guide with policymakers representing your community. Planning
for health requires government at all levels to address determinants of chronic disease
early by integrating health considerations in planning.