Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Program (NUPAO)
AZ Healthy Communities
Making the healthy choice the easy choice.
Where you live impacts your health, and Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) has recognized this connection. Working collaboratively with outside agencies, ADHS plans to help foster environments that support healthy behavior, such as biking and walking.
The purpose of AZ Healthy Communities is to link and support Arizona communities that are using, or are interested in using, collaborative approaches to healthy community planning and the promotion of healthy lifestyles. AZ Healthy Communities strives to increase neighborhoods that promote healthier lifestyles, increase evidence on the effectiveness of innovative healthy community planning, and decrease health and social inequities by focusing on the influence of where we live.
"Design" refers to how communities are laid out. Are the streets in a grid-like pattern, or are there curving cul-de-sacs? Is there a sidewalk for pedestrians and a bike lane for cyclists? The pattern of the community will affect how quickly community members can access services. Traditional patterns, like grid streets, allows more access points to public services, while cul-de-sacs and curving streets force community members to spend more time to get to their destinations. The streetscape can support opportunities for alternate transportation, by providing amenities such as sidewalks, bike lanes and street lighting. Design will influence how easily community members can use physical activity to simultaneously reach their destination and improve their health.
- CDC Designing and Building Health Communities
Provides a large variety of resources to understand the nexus between community design and health.
- Healthy Places Video
An overview on walkable communities and health.
- Urban Sprawl and Public Health
Describes the health consequences of urban sprawl.
- Measuring the Health Effects of Sprawl
The first national study that links sprawl characteristics to health outcomes.
- Healthy Community Toolkit
The Healthy Community Design Toolkit is a guidebook for Arizona communities to make changes that will result in a built environment that supports a healthy lifestyle. The guidebook was created by the Healthy Community Design Collaborative, which includes American Planning Association Arizona Chapter (APAAZ), Sonoran Institute, Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH), Livable Communities Coalition, St. Luke's Health Initiative and ChangeLab Solutions. The toolkit provides guidance on incorporating healthy community policies into general plans and comprehensive plans, helpful checklists and example policies.