What Works for Health

Policies and programs that can improve health

Unemployment insurance (UI)

Extend or raise the compensation provided to eligible, unemployed workers looking for jobs

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

Unhealthy snack taxes

Increase the price of snack products high in sugar and fat by adding an excise or sales tax to the current price

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

Universal distracted driving laws

Prohibit all drivers from texting or talking on a cell phone while driving

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Community Safety

Universal firearm background checks

Require both licensed and unlicensed firearm dealers to conduct background checks of potential handgun purchasers

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

Universal motorcycle helmet laws

Require all motorcycle operators and passengers to wear a helmet; laws are established statewide and may also include mopeds and scooters

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

Universal school-based alcohol prevention programs

Provide all students with the information and skills to prevent alcohol use; programs can be delivered via a specific curriculum or as a component of classroom behavior management

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

Universal school-based suicide awareness & education programs

Deliver a curriculum-based program that helps all students learn to recognize warning signs of suicide in themselves and others in a school setting

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

Urban agriculture

Support food-producing and income-earning activities in urban environments (e.g., edible landscapes, front yard or rooftop gardens, window farming, hydroponics, livestock, etc.)

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

Value-based insurance design

Create financial incentives or remove financial disincentives to affect consumer choices and incentivize provision of cost efficient health care services

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

Value-based purchasing (VBP)

Use the purchasing power of employers and groups of insured individuals to create incentives and disincentives for health care providers to deliver high quality, high value care

Evidence Rating:
Some Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Quality of Care

Vehicle anti-idling initiatives

Implement anti-idling policies and awareness campaigns to reduce engine idling for passenger vehicles, school buses, and/or equipment and truck fleets

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

Vehicle inspection & maintenance (I/M) programs

Require scheduled testing of vehicles’ tailpipe and evaporative emissions; federally mandated in areas with particularly poor air quality

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

Walking school buses

Arrange active transportation with a fixed route, designated stops, and pick up times when children can walk to school with adult chaperones

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

Water availability & promotion interventions

Make water readily available in various settings via regular placement of drinking fountains, water coolers, bottled water in vending machines, etc.

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

Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)

Provide assistance to low income families to make their homes more energy efficient and to permanently reduce their energy bills

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

WIC & Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Programs

Support Farmers’ Market Nutrition Programs, which provide WIC and Senior Nutrition Program participants with coupons for fresh, unprepared, locally grown fruits and vegetables

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

Workplace supports for breastfeeding

Support breastfeeding via private, well-equipped lactation spaces in workplaces, along with breastfeeding breaks, flexible schedules, professional lactation support, etc.

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

Worksite obesity prevention interventions

Use educational, environmental, and behavioral strategies to improve food choices and physical activity opportunities in worksite settings, also called workplace health programs

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

Youth apprenticeship initiatives

Provide participating high school students with professional opportunities that combine academic and on-the-job training or mentorship

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Employment

Youth football full contact rules

Restrict full contact between youth football players via limits to the number of contact practices, head hits per player, delay tackling until a certain age, etc.

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Community Safety