What Works for Health

Policies and programs that can improve health

Mentoring programs for high school graduation

Establish programs that connect at-risk students with trained adult volunteers who provide ongoing guidance for academic and personal challenges

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

Mentoring programs: delinquency

Enlist mentors to develop relationships and spend time individually with at-risk mentees for an extended period; mentors have greater knowledge, skills, etc. than mentees

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Alcohol and Drug Use, Community Safety

Microfinance & microenterprise

Support programs that provide small loans, usually to disadvantaged individuals, to start or expand a small business, often with business training and other assistance

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

Minimum drinking age laws

Maintain the current age below which the purchase or public consumption of alcoholic beverages is illegal; currently 21 in all states

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

Minimum tobacco age laws

Increase the minimum legal tobacco age to purchase or publicly consume tobacco to 21; also called Tobacco 21

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

Minimum wage increases

Increase the lowest hourly, daily, or monthly compensation that employers may legally pay to workers

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

Mixed-use development

Support a combination of land uses (e.g., residential, commercial, recreational) in development initiatives, often through zoning regulations or Smart Growth initiatives

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

Mobile health for mental health

Deliver health care services and support to individuals with mental health concerns via mobile devices using text messaging or mobile applications (apps)

Evidence Rating:
Some Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Access to Care

Mobile markets

Support fresh food carts or vehicles that travel to neighborhoods on a set schedule to sell fresh fruits and vegetables

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

Mobile reproductive health clinics

Offer reproductive health services (e.g., pregnancy tests, prenatal and postpartum care, gynecological exams, STI screenings, etc.), health education, and social service referrals via medically equipped vans

Evidence Rating:
Some Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Access to Care

Multi-component community interventions against alcohol-impaired driving

Work to reduce alcohol-impaired driving via sobriety checkpoints, responsible beverage service training, education and awareness activities, and other efforts

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

Multi-component fall prevention interventions for older adults

Provide a fixed, multi-component set of fall prevention interventions to older adults, usually in community settings, without an individualized risk assessment

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

Multi-component groundwater management programs

Address soil and water quality concerns via regular groundwater monitoring, education about risks to groundwater, water quotas and taxes, and other efforts

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

Multi-component interventions: pregnancy and STIs

Support initiatives that combine classroom instruction, individual counseling, and broad community efforts to reduce pregnancy and STIs among youth

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

Multi-component obesity prevention interventions

Combine educational, environmental, and behavioral activities that increase physical activity and improve nutrition (e.g., nutrition education, aerobic/strength training, dietary prescriptions, etc.) in various settings

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

Multi-component school-based obesity prevention interventions

Deliver educational, behavioral, environmental, and other obesity prevention efforts (e.g., education classes, enhanced physical education, healthy food promotion, family outreach, etc.) in schools

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

Multi-component workplace supports for active commuting

Provide physical infrastructure (e.g., bike parking or showers), educational or social support (e.g., walking groups), and financial incentives that support active commuting

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

Multisystemic Therapy (MST) for juvenile offenders

Use an intensive, family- and community-based intervention that addresses individual, family and environmental risk factors that affect antisocial behaviors among serious juvenile offenders

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

Naloxone education & distribution programs

Support community members who are likely to encounter individuals who might overdose with education and training to administer naloxone and ensure all first responders are trained and authorized to administer naloxone

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

National Fatherhood Initiative's 24/7 Dad

Help men improve their parenting skills and fathering knowledge via a voluntary, comprehensive fatherhood program

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