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Supporting Healthy Food and Activity Environments

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Healthy food access and opportunities for safe activity are hallmarks of healthy and equitable communities

Increasing access to healthy foods and to opportunities for physical activity—fundamental components of vibrant communities—is the core strategy for reversing unprecedented increases in Type II diabetes and preventing a constellation of health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and cancer.  In 2001, Prevention Institute co-founded the Strategic Alliance for Healthy Food and Activity Environments to reframe the issue of food and activity as one of governmental and corporate accountability, not just personal choice. As staff for the Alliance, Prevention Institute facilitated the development of the policy platform, Taking Action for a Healthy California, which became the basis of Governor Schwarzenegger's plan.

Applying a primary prevention lens, Prevention Institute takes a systems view to analyzing how myriad policies— in agriculture, land use, transportation, economic development, education, preventing violence, health, and food assistance among others—influence food and activity environments and can reduce inequalities in health. These findings, derived from research and practice, form the basis for its interactive tool ENACT (Environmental Nutrition and Activity Community Tool). Prevention Institute provides policy analysis along with strategic support to the Convergence Partnership, a collaborative of funders whose goal of policy and environmental change will help reinvent communities of healthy people living in healthy places.

Listen to Prevention Institute's Juliet Sims on Childhood Matters as she covers how policies and environments can support healthy eating and physical activity for kids, families and communities.

Listen to Prevention Institute's Linda Shak on a Government Action and Communication Institute podcast on how community prevention is already working in California to support healthy eating and physical activity.