UMass Worcester PRC Publications

UMMS Affiliation

Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences; Clinical and Population Health Research PhD Program, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center

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Behavioral Medicine | Community-Based Research | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition | Health Policy | Health Services Administration | Preventive Medicine | Public Health Education and Promotion


CONTEXT: Policies (eg, regulations, taxes, and zoning ordinances) can increase opportunities for healthy eating. Community Health Improvement Plans (CHIP) may foster collaboration and local health department (LHD) engagement in policy decision making to improve local food environments. Limited research describes what policies supportive of healthy food environments are included in CHIPs nationally and relationships between LHD characteristics and participation in plans including such policies.

OBJECTIVES: To determine the proportion of US LHDs who participated in development of a CHIP containing healthy eating policy strategies and assess the association between LHD characteristics and inclusion of any healthy eating policy strategy in a

CHIP. DESIGN: A cross-sectional national probability survey.

PARTICIPANTS: Of the 209 US LHDs (serving populations < 500 000) (response rate: 30.2%), 176 LHDs with complete data on CHIP status, outcomes, and covariates were eligible for analysis.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Thirteen healthy eating policy strategies were organized into 3 categories: increasing availability/identification of healthy foods, reducing access to unhealthy foods, and improving school food environments. Strategies and categories were identified from literature and public health recommendations.

RESULTS: In total, 32.2% of LHDs reported inclusion of 1 or more healthy eating policy strategies in a CHIP. The proportion of departments reporting specific strategies ranged from 20.8% for school district policies to 1.1% for sugar-sweetened beverage taxes. Local health departments serving 25 000 to 49 999 residents (odds ratio [OR]: 5.00; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.71-14.63), 100 000 to 499 999 residents (OR: 3.66; 95% CI: 1.12-11.95), pursuing national accreditation (OR: 4.46; 95% CI: 1.83-10.83), or accredited (OR: 3.22; 95% CI: 1.08-9.63) were more likely to include 1 or more healthy eating policy strategies in a CHIP than smaller LHDs ( < 25 000) and LHDs not seeking accreditation, respectively, after adjusting for covariates.

CONCLUSIONS: Few LHDs serving less than 500 000 residents reported CHIPs that included a policy-based approach to improve food environments, indicating room for improvement. Population size served and accreditation may affect LHD policy engagement to enhance local food environments.


UMCCTS funding, Community Health Improvement Plan, local health department, nutrition policy, obesity policy, strategic planning

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Copyright © 2019 The Authors. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.

DOI of Published Version



Sreedhara M, Goins KV, Frisard C, Rosal MC, Lemon SC. Healthy Eating Policy Strategies in Community Health Improvement Plans: A Cross-Sectional Survey of US Local Health Departments. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2019 Dec 12;10.1097/PHH.0000000000001104. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000001104. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 31834204. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of public health management and practice : JPHMP

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.