Policies and programs implemented at the local, state, and federal levels can have an impact on population health in a variety of ways. Policies and programs may be designed to target health outcomes directly, or by tackling the variety of factors that determine those outcomes. They can focus on downstream factors, such as ensuring that children are immunized at appropriate times or changing individuals’ diet and exercise behaviors. Or, they can focus on more upstream factors, such as encouraging college attendance or stimulating economic development.
Understanding your county’s actual rankings is only one component of mobilizing action toward community health: it is our hope that you use that information to create and implement evidence-informed policies and programs that improve your community’s health. Visit the Roadmaps to Health Action Center section on Choosing Effective Policies and Programs for information to help you look for strategies that have been shown to effectively address the health factors that influence health. Visit What Works for Health to find policies and programs that can work in your community.