Strategies

Policies and programs that work

93 Strategies
Clear all

Active recess

Establish a break from the school day, typically before lunch, that involves planned, inclusive, actively supervised games or activities; also called semi-structured, or structured recess
Scientifically Supported
  • Diet and Exercise

Activity programs for older adults

Offer group educational, social, or physical activities that promote social interactions, regular attendance, and community involvement among older adults
Scientifically Supported
  • Diet and Exercise
  • Family and Social Support

Bike & pedestrian master plans

Establish a framework to increase walking and biking trails and improve connectivity of non-auto paths and trails in a particular area
Some Evidence
  • Housing and Transit
  • Diet and Exercise

Breastfeeding promotion programs

Provide education, information, counseling, and support for breastfeeding to women throughout pre- and post-natal care
Scientifically Supported
  • Diet and Exercise

Child care subsidies

Provide financial assistance to working parents, or parents attending school, to pay for center-based or certified in-home child care
Scientifically Supported
  • Income

Child development accounts

Establish dedicated child development accounts (CDAs) to build assets over time with contributions from family, friends, and sometimes, supporting organizations; also called children’s savings accounts (CSAs)
Expert Opinion
  • Income
  • Education

Child tax credit expansion

Expand federal or state child tax credits by increasing credit amounts, making credits refundable, decreasing or eliminating the earnings threshold, or creating a fully refundable supplement
Expert Opinion
  • Income

College-based obesity prevention educational interventions

Support multi-component educational interventions for college students that address nutrition, physical activity, and healthy weight management; often with environmental modifications
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Community fitness programs

Offer exercise classes (e.g., yoga, Tai Chi, cycling, etc.) and fitness program support in community centers, senior centers, fitness, and community wellness centers
Scientifically Supported
  • Diet and Exercise

Community gardens

Establish and support land that is gardened or cultivated by community members via community land trusts, gardening education, zoning regulation changes, or service provision (e.g., water or waste disposal)
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Community kitchens for food processing

Establish shared kitchen spaces that support licensed, commercial food processing and connect specialty food processors, farmers, and others who produce value-added goods
Expert Opinion
  • Diet and Exercise

Community kitchens for nutrition education

Use existing kitchen spaces for community members to share knowledge, resources, and labor to prepare, cook, and consume food, often with nutrition education provided for participants experiencing food insecurity
Insufficient Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Community supported agriculture (CSA)

Establish partnerships between farmers and consumers in which consumers purchase a share of a farm’s products in advance
Expert Opinion
  • Diet and Exercise

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
Expert Opinion
  • 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
Scientifically Supported
  • 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
Some Evidence
  • 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
Scientifically Supported
  • 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
Scientifically Supported
  • Housing and Transit
  • Diet and Exercise

Debt advice for tenants with unpaid rent

Offer debt advice from trained providers to tenants with unpaid, overdue rent to help repay debt and increase financial literacy
Some Evidence
  • Income
  • Housing and Transit

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

Expand refundable earned income tax credits for low to moderate income working individuals and families
Scientifically Supported
  • Income

Electronic Benefit Transfer payment at farmers markets

Enable farmers markets to accept EBT, the electronic payment system of debit cards used to issue and redeem Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits
Expert Opinion
  • Diet and Exercise

Exercise prescriptions

Provide patients with prescriptions for exercise plans, often accompanied by progress checks at office visits, counseling, activity logs, and exercise testing
Scientifically Supported
  • Diet and Exercise

Extracurricular activities for physical activity

Provide chances for kids and adolescents to be active and play sports at various skill levels via structured or unstructured after- and before- school athletic activities
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Family-based physical activity interventions

Increase family members’ support for physical activity, often via educational sessions on health, goal-setting, problem-solving, or family behavioral management
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Farm to school programs

Incorporate locally grown foods into school meals and snacks, often with visits from food producers, cooking classes, nutrition and waste reduction efforts, and school gardens
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Farmers markets

Support multiple vendor markets where producers sell goods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, dairy items, and prepared foods directly to consumers
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Financial education for adults

Provide one-on-one or group adult education programs that cover topics such as basic budgeting, bank use, credit management, bankruptcy, credit building and counseling, homeownership, retirement, divorce, etc.
Insufficient Evidence
  • Income

Financial rewards for employee healthy behavior

Offer payments, vouchers, credits toward health insurance premiums, or other financial rewards to encourage employees to lose weight, eat more healthily, quit smoking, engage in physical activity, etc.
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Food buying clubs & co-ops

Offer opportunities for group purchase and distribution of selected grocery items, generally at a reduced price
Expert Opinion
  • Diet and Exercise

Food hubs

Support businesses or organizations that aggregate, distribute, and market local and regional food products (e.g., fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, dairy, grains, and prepared items)
Expert Opinion
  • Diet and Exercise

Fruit & vegetable gleaning initiatives

Gather food left in fields after a primary harvest, food in fields where harvesting is not profitable, or excess produce from orchards, packing houses, urban agriculture sites, etc.
Expert Opinion
  • Diet and Exercise

Fruit & vegetable incentive programs

Offer low income participants matching funds to purchase healthy foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables; often called bonus dollars, market bucks, produce coupons, or nutrition incentives
Scientifically Supported
  • Diet and Exercise

Fruit & vegetable taste testing

Offer samples of fresh fruits and vegetables in cafeterias, nutrition classes, school gardens, or workplace well-being meetings, often as part of a multi-faceted nutrition intervention
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Full child support pass-through and disregard

Adopt policies that allow custodial parents who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to collect all child support paid by the non-custodial parent; no portion is retained by the state
Scientifically Supported
  • Income

Green space & parks

Increase recreational green space through new parks or open spaces, renovation or enhancement of under-used recreation areas, rehabilitation of vacant lots, brownfields, etc.
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Healthy food in convenience stores

Encourage convenience stores, corner stores, or gas station markets to carry fresh produce and other healthier food options
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Healthy food initiatives in food banks

Combine hunger relief efforts with nutrition information and healthy eating opportunities, often with on-site cooking demonstrations, recipe tastings, produce display stands, etc.
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Healthy foods at catered events

Provide more fresh fruits and vegetables, smaller portions, low fat, and reduced sodium or reduced sugar food options and other healthy foods at catered events
Expert Opinion
  • Diet and Exercise

Healthy school lunch initiatives

Modify the school lunch food environment by prominently displaying, marketing, and increasing the convenience of healthy foods and providing healthy options
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Healthy vending machine options

Increase healthy options in vending machines by reducing the price of healthy choices, increasing the number of healthy choices compared to unhealthy choices, etc.
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Homework or extra credit for PE class

Assign homework or extra credit activities for physical education (PE) or health classes that require students to be physically active outside of school
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Individual Development Accounts (IDAs)

Support subsidized asset accumulation programs in which deposits by low and moderate income participants are matched by program sponsors; withdrawals must be used for qualified expenses to retain matching funds
Some Evidence
  • Income

Land banking

Acquire, hold, manage, and develop properties such as vacant lots, abandoned buildings, or foreclosures, and transition them to productive uses, often affordable housing developments.
Some Evidence
  • Housing and Transit
  • Diet and Exercise

Living wage laws

Establish locally mandated wages that are higher than state or federal minimum wage levels
Some Evidence
  • Income

Mass media campaigns for physical activity

Provide messages that support physical activity to large and broad audiences using newspapers, radio, television, and billboards
Insufficient Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Matched dollar incentives for saving tax refunds

Support programs that provide matched dollar incentives for low or moderate income individuals to place some or all of their tax refund in a savings account
Some Evidence
  • Income

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
Insufficient Evidence
  • Income

Minimum wage increases

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