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Action Strategies Toolkit: A guide for local and state leaders working to create healthy communities and prevent childhood obesity.

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Abstract:

Leadership for Healthy Communities, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, was created to support local and state leaders nationwide in their efforts to promote healthy, active communities and access to affordable healthy foods. The strategies in this toolkit include promising and evidence-based practices that advance these goals and build upon the work in which policy-makers are already engaged.

Through daily decisions about budgets, laws, regulations or zoning, policy-makers can help develop healthier and more viable communities. For example, government leaders can facilitate land-use policies, such as mixed-use development, and support ublic parks and transit options, including walking paths and bicycle lanes. They can create incentives to attract supermarkets and farmers’ markets to underserved communities and improve the nutritional quality of foods and beverages in schools.

Putting the strategies in this toolkit into action will take strong, coordinated leadership by policy leaders nationwide. Through collaboration among states, counties, cities and schools, policy-makers can meet their constituents’ demand for healthy living as they take steps to reduce health care costs and improve health care performance in their communities. The strategies presented in this toolkit have tremendous potential to change the trajectory of our children’s future.