What Works for Health

Policies and programs that can improve health

Community weight loss challenges

Support temporary programs that work to energize participants to lose weight via prizes, often combined with education, weight status and food intake tracking, regular check-ins, and group support

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Diet and Exercise

Community-based social support for physical activity

Build, strengthen, and maintain social networks that provide supportive relationships for behavior change through walking groups or other community-based interventions

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Diet and Exercise

Community-wide physical activity campaigns

Engage a variety of partners in a highly visible, multi-component effort to increase physical activity, often with efforts to address cardiovascular disease risk factors

Evidence Rating:
Some Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Diet and Exercise

Competitive pricing for healthy foods

Assign higher costs to non-nutritious foods than nutritious foods via incentives, subsidies, or price discounts for healthy foods and beverages or disincentives or price increases for unhealthy choices

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Diet and Exercise

Complete Streets & streetscape design initiatives

Enhance streetscapes with greater sidewalk coverage and walkway connectivity, street crossing safety features, traffic calming measures, and other design elements

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Housing and Transit, Diet and Exercise

Comprehensive clinic-based programs for pregnant & parenting teens

Address the needs of teenage mothers via clinic-based programs that provide health care and family planning services as well as case management, counseling, and other supports

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Sexual Activity

Comprehensive firearm background checks

Require checks of a broad set of disqualifying criteria (e.g., misdemeanor convictions, domestic violence restraining orders, and juvenile convictions) prior to handgun purchase

Evidence Rating:
Some Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Community Safety

Comprehensive risk reduction sexual education

Provide information about contraception and protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in classroom or community settings

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Sexual Activity

Comprehensive school reform

Implement a coordinated effort to overhaul school operation, integrating curriculum, instruction, professional development, parent involvement, classroom and school management; also called school-wide or whole school reform

Evidence Rating:
Some Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Education

Computer-based interventions to prevent HIV and other STIs

Provide tailored health information and computer-mediated decision making, behavior change, and emotional support via interactive programs

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Sexual Activity