Policies and Programs

Policies and programs implemented at the local, state, and federal levels can affect population health in a variety of ways. Policies and programs may target health outcomes directly, or tackle the variety of factors that help to determine those outcomes.

Policies and programs can focus on downstream factors, solving today’s challenges, through changes to individuals’ behaviors such as dietary choices, exercise levels, or alcohol consumption. They can also focus on upstream factors that take more systematic approaches to prevention, such as enhancing opportunities for education, stimulating economic development, and increasing neighborhood safety.

With evidence ratings, literature summaries, and implementation resources for nearly 400 policies and programs, What Works for Health (WWFH) is a great starting place to find ideas to address your community’s health-related priorities. You can search WWFH by keyword (e.g., obesity, poverty), or browse strategy listings by decision maker, health factor, or evidence rating.

The Action Center also provides specific tools and guides to help your community: