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Delaware Coalition for  Healthy Eating and Active Living

DEplan4health logoThe Delaware Coalition for Healthy Eating and Active Living seeks to change the approach in which comprehensive plans are updated to include considerations for health and equity. Using feedback from the community, the Coalition will create land use, design and policy guidelines for planners and public health professionals seeking to increase access to healthy food and build spaces that encourage physical activity.

The Delaware Chapter of the American Planning Association and the Delaware Academy of Medicine/Delaware Public Health Association have received a $135,000 grant from the American Planning Association through its Plan4Health program to combat two determinants of chronic disease—lack of physical activity and lack of access to nutritious foods. The funding for this national program is implemented in partnership between the American Planning Association and the American Public Health Association (APHA). This represents a major new collaboration between planners and public health professionals. Funding for Plan4Health was provided through an award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Delaware Coalition of Healthy Eating and Active Living took a broader approach to their Plan4Health project and focused on the Kent County area of Dover, Delaware. They created a working group that reached 40 members and partners of the coalition. By enhancing the organizational capacity of the coalition, they were able to complete the following activities for the population of Kent County, which is approximately 169,000 people.

  • Health and equity assessments which focused on policy, systems and environmental (PSE) factors
  • Conduct planning and design sessions that were focused on listing all of the issues in a community and providing solutions; these sessions happened in two representative communities and reached approximately 40,000 people in the Dover/Kent County study area
  • Establish a comprehensive design and policy guidance document that includes community design, land use planning, active living and food security within community settings
  • A communications and information dissemination plan for the Plan4Health working group, stakeholders and the general public. This plan reached approximately 22,000 unique visitors through the Plan4Health website, email and social media communication channels


To sustain the progress and resources from the Plan4Health project, the Delaware Healthcare Innovation Model’s Healthy Neighborhoods group has become a new partner that will continue to focus on Plan4Health recommendations for implementation in key neighborhoods in the county, as well as the entire state. With the Planners4Health grant aimed to expand Plan4Health efforts statewide, leveraging this new partner is timely in sustaining the momentum. In addition, each team member’s own network of partners has expanded as a result of this project. Therefore, this “culture of health” is becoming apparent as the blend of sectors are partnering to achieve common goals. Recognizing the cross-section of health and planning is becoming the norm.


Publications and Features

Listen to David Edgell and Tim Gibbs talk about the DEplan4health initiative in a podcast created by the American Planning Association here.

The Delaware Journal of Public Health, December 2016, Volume 2, Issue 5 published two articles related to the Delaware Plan4Health initiative.  The first article, “The A’s of Influencing Health Eating and Active Living,” was authored by Michelle Eichinger, MS, MPA.  The second article, “When Planning Meets Health: Delaware’s Plan4Health Grant Fosters a Healthy Delaware,” was co-authored by Michelle Eichinger, Kristen Vales, David Edgell, Tim Gibbs, Bill Swiatek, Patti Miller, and Mary Ellen Gray.

Like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter.

Learn more about our impact:

Success Story: April 2017                       Success Story: October 2016                Fact Sheet: April 2016                              Workshop presentation: Spring 2016

de-may-2017                                 de-ss-2                                  DE Fact sheet picture                                Plan4Health Delaware presentation

Resources and Final Reports

Plan4Health Survey Report
Delaware Health and Equity Analysis Bike Report
Bikeable Density Map
Equity Composite Map
Parks and Open Space Density Map
Retail Food Environment Index
Sidewalk Density Map

Coalition Members

Delaware Chapter of the American Planning Association
Delaware Academy of Medicine / Delaware Public Health Association
City of Dover, Delaware
Kent County, Delaware
Nemours Children’s Health System, Division of Health and Prevention Services
Delaware Office of State Planning Coordination
Dover / Kent Metropolitan Planning Organization
Delaware Division of Public Health 
Delaware Department of Transportation
Delaware State Parks 
Delaware State Housing Authority
YMCA of Delaware
University of Delaware, Institute for Public Administration
National Council on Agricultural Life and Labor Research Fund, Inc. 
Delaware Community Foundation

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