What Works for Health

Policies and programs that can improve health

Restaurant nutrition labeling

Provide nutrition information on menus and signboards at restaurants and other food outlets

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

Restorative justice in the criminal justice system

Use victim-offender dialogue to address the harm caused by a crime and victims’ needs; can take place pre-arrest or post sentence via sharing circles, victim-offender mediation, or face-to-face conferences

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Community Safety

Retail alcohol sale privatization

Repeal government control over retail sales of alcoholic beverages, allowing commercial retailing of those beverages

Evidence Rating:
Evidence of Ineffectiveness
Health Factor(s):
Alcohol and Drug Use

Retail clinics

Establish clinics in retail stores that provide basic services for simple health conditions and procedures such as sore throats, immunizations, pregnancy testing, lipid and diabetes screening

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Access to Care

Risk assessments & personalized approaches to fall prevention among older adults

Conduct individual assessments that gauge older adults’ risk of falling and develop personalized approaches to help prevent falls

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Community Safety, Quality of Care

Rollover protective structures (ROPS)

Attach metal bars, frames, or crush proof cabs to a tractor that provide a safety zone for an operator in the event of a rollover or overturn

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Community Safety

Rural training in medical education

Expand medical school training and learning experiences focused on the skills necessary to practice successfully in rural areas

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Access to Care

Rural transportation services

Establish transportation services for areas with low population densities using publicly funded buses and vans on a set schedule, dial-a-ride transit, volunteer ridesharing, etc.

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Access to Care, Housing and Transit

Safe Routes to Schools

Promote walking and biking to school through education, incentives, and environmental changes; often called SRTS

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

Sales to intoxicated persons (SIP) law enforcement

Increase enforcement of laws that prohibit alcoholic beverage service to intoxicated customers, usually with fines, imprisonment, or revocation of a license

Evidence Rating:
Insufficient Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Alcohol and Drug Use

Scared Straight

Organize tours of prison facilities for juvenile delinquents or youth at risk of delinquency and allow them to observe prison life and attend inmates’ presentations; also called juvenile awareness programs

Evidence Rating:
Evidence of Ineffectiveness
Health Factor(s):
Community Safety

School and district level zero tolerance policies

Require school officials to apply predetermined consequences for certain infractions, regardless of situational context or circumstances; consequences are usually severe (e.g., suspension or expulsion)

Evidence Rating:
Evidence of Ineffectiveness
Health Factor(s):
Education

School breakfast programs

Support programs to provide students with a nutritious breakfast in the cafeteria, from grab and go carts in hallways, or in classrooms

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

School dental programs

Provide sealants, fluoride treatment, screening, and other preventive dental care on school grounds via partnerships with dental professionals

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Access to Care

School food & beverage restrictions

Limit access to competitive foods and beverages in schools via restrictions on foods that are not provided through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.

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

School fruit & vegetable gardens

Establish designated areas where students can garden with guidance, often with nutrition and food preparation lessons and opportunities for taste tasting and hands-on learning

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

School fundraiser restrictions

Prohibit the sale of unhealthy foods such as sugar sweetened beverages, candy, and other non-nutritious snacks at school fundraisers, often as part of a broader nutrition policy

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

School nutrition standards

Regulate the quality of food that can be sold to students via the National School Lunch Program, à la carte options, vending machines, etc.

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

School or community-based abstinence-only education

Promote abstinence from sexual activity, generally only with mention of condoms and birth control to highlight failure rates

Evidence Rating:
Mixed Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Sexual Activity

School-based health centers

Provide health care services on school premises to attending elementary, middle, and high school students; services provided by teams of nurses, nurse practitioners, and physicians

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Education, Access to Care

School-based health clinics with reproductive health services

Provide reproductive health care services such as counseling, contraception, and testing in middle and high school-based health clinics

Evidence Rating:
Some Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Sexual Activity

School-based intimate partner violence prevention programs

Provide youth with teen dating violence education that addresses healthy relationships, gender norms, relationship coercion, and violence in a school setting

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

School-based nutrition education programs

Address nutrition in schools via educational (e.g., classroom or curricula-wide efforts, peer training, etc.), environmental (e.g., school menus, classroom snacks, etc.), and other approaches

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

School-based physical education enhancements

Expand or enhance school-based physical education (PE) by lengthening existing classes, increasing physical activity during class, adding new PE classes, etc.

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

School-based social and emotional instruction

Implement focused efforts to help children recognize and manage emotions, set and reach goals, appreciate others’ perspectives, and maintain relationships; also called social and emotional learning (SEL)

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Education

School-based social norming: alcohol consumption

Provide objective, normative information to reduce students’ misperceptions about alcohol use and, ultimately, change their alcohol consumption

Evidence Rating:
Mixed Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Alcohol and Drug Use

School-based tobacco prevention skill-building programs

Teach students personal and social skills to avoid tobacco use; led by teachers, health educators, or students in elementary schools, middle schools, or high schools

Evidence Rating:
Some Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Tobacco Use

School-based trauma counseling

Help students process trauma exposure and develop coping skills through individual or small group counseling with mental health professionals or school staff with trauma-specific training

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

School-based violence & bullying prevention programs

Address students’ disruptive and antisocial behavior by teaching self-awareness, emotional self-control, self-esteem, social problem solving, conflict resolution, team work, social skills, etc.

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Education

School-community liaisons

Provide low income or at-risk public school students and their families with information about social services and health care supports; also called community resource or family and community liaisons

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

School-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (Tier 1)

Teach positively stated behavior expectations to all students, often reinforced with prizes or privileges and supported with coaching and data; SWPBIS is tier one of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Education

Scrap programs for old vehicles

Provide incentives to trade in old cars or light duty trucks with low fuel efficiency and high emissions and buy new vehicles with higher efficiency and lower emissions; also called scrappage or early retirement programs

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Air and Water Quality

Screen time interventions for children

Encourage children to spend time away from TV and other stationary screen media, often as part of a multi-faceted effort to increase physical activity and improve nutrition

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

Secondhand smoke education interventions

Use counseling, informational materials, etc. to inform smokers and non-smokers of the harms of secondhand smoke and encourage them to implement home smoking bans

Evidence Rating:
Mixed Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Tobacco Use

Sector-based workforce initiatives

Provide industry-focused education and job training based on the needs of regional employers within specific sectors

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

Seller & server minimum age

Require a minimum age for sellers in off-premise locations that sell alcohol and servers and bartenders in on-premise locations

Evidence Rating:
Insufficient Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Alcohol and Drug Use

Service-enriched housing

Provide permanent, basic rental housing with social services available onsite or by referral, usually for low income families, seniors, veterans, or people with disabilities

Evidence Rating:
Some Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Housing and Transit

Shared use agreements

Create contracts that support community access to existing facilities (e.g., schools, churches, etc.) before or after business hours; also called joint use, open use, or community use agreements

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

Small elementary classes

Reduce the number of students in elementary school classrooms

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

Smart Start North Carolina

Provide comprehensive early childhood services, including high quality educational child care, health, and family support to address local needs

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

Smoke-free policies for indoor areas

Implement private sector rules or public sector regulations that prohibit smoking indoors or restrict it to designated, often outdoor, areas

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Tobacco Use

Smoke-free policies for multi-unit housing

Implement private sector rules or public sector regulations that prohibit smoking in and around multi-unit housing

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Tobacco Use

Smoke-free policies for outdoor areas

Implement private sector rules or public sector regulations that prohibit smoking outdoors or restrict it to designated areas

Evidence Rating:
Some Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Tobacco Use

Social host laws

Adopt laws that hold private property owners who provide alcohol to minors or obviously intoxicated individuals on their property liable if someone is killed or injured as a result

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Alcohol and Drug Use

Social media for civic participation

Support individual and group use of internet-based tools to receive news, communicate or share information, collaborate on ideas, mobilize networks, and make collective decisions

Evidence Rating:
Some Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Family and Social Support

Social networking site interventions: risky sexual behavior

Use social networks such as Facebook and MySpace to deliver health education, often as part of a broader online campaign of websites and social networks

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Sexual Activity

Social service integration

Coordinate access to services across delivery systems and disciplinary boundaries (e.g., housing, disability, physical health, mental health, child welfare, workforce services, etc.)

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Family and Social Support

Sports-related concussion education

Educate youth and college athletes, coaches, and parents about the severity of concussions in sports, proper prevention, detection, reporting, and treatment

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

State-level minimum nurse staffing requirements for nursing homes

Establish state level regulations that require nursing homes to employ at least a set number of licensed and non-licensed nursing staff, often set in terms of staff hours per resident day

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Quality of Care

Statewide comprehensive tobacco programs

Coordinate state and community-level cessation and prevention interventions and provide information on the dangers of tobacco using a combination of educational, regulatory, clinical, social, and economic strategies

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Tobacco Use