Strategies

Policies and programs that work

76 Strategies

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

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
Scientifically Supported
  • Housing and Transit
  • Diet and Exercise

Mobile markets

Support fresh food carts or vehicles that travel to neighborhoods on a set schedule to sell fresh fruits and vegetables
Expert Opinion
  • Diet and Exercise

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

New grocery stores in underserved areas

Attract new grocery stores that sell a variety of fresh foods, baked goods, packaged, and frozen items to underserved areas via financing initiatives, tax incentives, or zoning regulation
Some Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Nutrition prescriptions

Provide prescriptions with healthy eating goals for patients and families, often accompanied by progress checks at office visits; can include partnerships with local farmers’ markets via FVRx programs
Expert Opinion
  • Diet and Exercise

Online grocery stores

Use internet-based shopping sites to supply refrigerated, frozen, and non-perishable groceries for residential ordering and delivery
Insufficient Evidence
  • Diet and Exercise

Open gym time

Offer time during the school day for children to play in the gym, often during lunch period; joint use agreements can expand open gym opportunities to community members outside school hours
Expert Opinion
  • Diet and Exercise

Open Streets

Allow community members to gather, socialize, walk, run, bike, skate, etc. by closing selected streets temporarily to motorized traffic; also called Ciclovía programs
Expert Opinion
  • Diet and Exercise
  • Family and Social Support

Physically active classrooms

Incorporate classroom-based physical activities, such as classroom energizers, into academic lessons or as a break, usually for elementary students
Scientifically Supported
  • Diet and Exercise