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Creating Healthy Communities for All Residents


As local governments seek to plan and design healthy communities, they will need to take extra steps to ensure that the most vulnerable populations—those isolated by their level of income, ethnic and racial background, age, ability, or gender—have access to the same choices and opportunities for healthy lifestyles as the population at large.

This guide serves two main purposes. First, it seeks to provide local government managers, department heads, and staff with a basic understanding of the connections between active living and social equity. Second, it offers a toolbox of local government strategies for addressing these issues. In doing so, it provides examples of how some communities have gone about tying together active living and equity. It also identifies strategies for engaging key partners from within local government and from the community in local active living initiatives. Finally, this guide directs local governments to additional resources—written materials, contacts, and funding sources—for further assistance.

While linking active living and social equity is an important issue for communities of all sizes and characteristics, no community is entirely alike and there exists no single, most appropriate course of action. As such, this guide identifies a sampling of needs, challenges, and opportunities that local governments are likely to find in their community. It also highlights a set of strategies that vary in scope and complexity—from low-cost, short-term interventions to long-term, more resource-intensive strategies.

Primary Toolkit:

Healthy Community Design Toolkit

Keyword Area:

Active Living, Community Design, Health Equity, Land Use, Physical Activity, Planning, Tobacco, Traffic Safety, Transportation Planning, Vulnerable Populations, Zoning


Institutional Author:

International City/County Management Association





The NACCHO Toolbox is a repository of available resources to help local public health practitioners. Tools are produced by local, state, and federal agencies, as well as academic institutions and other stakeholders. The contents of this Toolbox are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect any official recommendations of NACCHO. NACCHO makes no express or implied warranty with respect to the contents and disclaims liability for any damages arising from or connected to the use of the material in this Toolbox.