In January of 2010, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) published an evidence brief regarding the recommendations of the Commission to Build a Healthier America. The commission discussed the creation of healthy community environments and identified steps and to implement and expand upon these recommendations.
Communities’ physical, social and economic environments affect the health of individuals and contribute to the exacerbation of health disparities. RWJF was well ahead of their time in recognizing the built environment and it’s impact, both collectively and individually on a community and the individuals living in that environment.
Prior to the the RWJF commission, in 2003, the American Journal of Public Health published a research article titled Creating Healthy Communities, Healthy Homes, Healthy People: Initiating a Research Agenda on the Built Environment and Public Health, the article discussed the built environment, and what they referred to as “human-modified places”, defined as homes, schools, workplaces, parks, industrial areas, farms, roads and highways.
The article in AJPH emphasized the need to explore the complexity of the built environment and it’s influence on human health using a community-based, multilevel, interdisciplinary research approach. Fast forward to 2014 and the implementation of the Plan4Health project. Research supported information informed and prompted the CDC to issue a 3-year cooperative agreement with 5 national organizations to design community-based health interventions to improve the built environment and the impact on the health of communities.
The Plan4Health project focused on the issues in the built environment and how they contributed to two areas: nutrition and physical activity. For more information about the overall work of the Plan4Health grantees and how their work contributes to healthy communities, check out the Plan4Health grantees below:
The Plan4Health project is the first step toward advancing health communities and healthy homes. Healthy communities can and will influence healthy homes and provides a holistic education, remediation, and eradication of built environment and environmental sources of poor health.