Utah Healthy Places Index® Policy Guides

Where local leaders can build policy at the intersection of health, equity, and data. Use the Policy Action Guides to identify leading-edge and evidence-based policy interventions to meet the needs of the community tied to indicators in the Healthy Places Index®. With the Policy Guides, the Policy Action Areas - such as Economic, Education, and Social - are ranked from highest to lowest in the order of their impact as social drivers of health. When using the policy action guides, consider ways to elevate residents' voices while crafting interventions to address the social drivers of health and create healthier community conditions.

Education

Bachelor's Education
Bachelor's Education

Everyone should have the opportunity to seek higher education and go to college if they choose. A college education is essential for many higher-paying careers, and it also helps people develop the cognitive skills and knowledge necessary to make healthy choices.

High School Enrollment
High School Enrollment

Every school-age youth should have educational opportunities that prepare them for higher education, a career and the future of their choice. Education is linked to increased life expectancy and reduced chronic disease rates, infant mortality and other negative health outcomes.

Preschool Enrollment
Preschool Enrollment

Every child should have the chance to learn, grow, and thrive. Early childhood is a crucial period for brain development, shaping nearly every aspect of one’s future health and wellbeing.

Transportation

Automobile Access
Automobile Access

Everybody should have safe, accessible and convenient transportation options to get to work and other destinations, especially if they do not own or have access to a car. Lack of access to a car should not limit people’s access to opportunities.

Bike Lane Access
Bike Lane Access

Everybody should have safe, accessible, and convenient transportation options to get to work and other destinations. Active commuting by foot, bike, and transit creates opportunities for physical activity, provides transportation options for those without a car, encourages social cohesion, and reduces contributions to climate change and air pollution.

Traffic Volume
Traffic Volume

Everyone should be able to live in neighborhoods where it is safe to breathe while having safe, accessible, and convenient transportation options to get to work and other destinations.

Housing

Homeownership
Homeownership

All residents should be able to afford adequate housing without giving up healthy food, medical care, or other necessities, or accepting unsafe housing conditions. Everyone should have the opportunity to build wealth over time by purchasing a home, which can protect against rising rents and promote social ties and neighborhood stability.

Housing Habitability
Housing Habitability

Everyone should be able to live in a safe and habitable home. Poor quality and unstable housing quality exposes residents to toxins, mold, pests and conditions that can trigger asthma and increase risks of injuries.

Severely Cost Burdened Low-Income Homeowners
Severely Cost Burdened Low-Income Homeowners

All residents should be able to afford adequate housing without giving up healthy food, medical care, or other necessities, or accepting unsafe housing conditions. When housing cost burdens are high, individuals and families must make difficult choices with limited options.

Severely Cost Burdened Low-Income Renters
Severely Cost Burdened Low-Income Renters

All residents should be able to afford adequate housing without giving up healthy food, medical care, or other necessities, or accepting unsafe housing conditions. With budgets stretched to the breaking point, low-income renters also experience housing insecurity and are vulnerable to displacement from their homes and neighborhoods.

Uncrowded Housing
Uncrowded Housing

People should be able to live in housing with enough space for everyone living there. Uncrowded housing can improve mental health including stress and depression; decrease the spread of communicable diseases like tuberculosis; and improve children’s wellbeing and educational outcomes.

Social

Census Response
Census Response

Everyone should be able to contribute their voice to the political process and to participate in their communities. Census participation is an indicator of both civic engagement and social cohesion.

Voting
Voting

Everyone should be able to contribute their voice to the political process and to participate in their communities. Voter participation is an indicator of both civic engagement and social cohesion.

Clean Environment

Diesel Particulate Matter
Diesel Particulate Matter

Everyone should be able to live in neighborhoods where it is safe to breathe. Since diesel particulate matter is so small, it can reach deep into people’s lungs.

Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5)
Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5)

Everyone should be able to live in neighborhoods where it is safe to breathe. Since fine particulate matter is so small, it can reach deep into people’s lungs leading to adverse health outcomes.

Neighborhood

Park Access
Park Access

Everybody should have access to parks and other open spaces near their home. Parks can encourage physical activity, reduce chronic diseases, improve mental health, foster community connections, and support community resilience to climate change and pollution.

Tree Canopy
Tree Canopy

Everybody should have trees and other plant life near their home. Trees are beneficial for mental and physical health in many ways.

Healthcare Access

Insured Adults
Insured Adults

Everybody should have access to medical care when they need it and to keep their bodies healthy with regular check-ups. Research indicates that health insurance dramatically improves health outcomes by allowing people to access necessary care.

Economic

Above Poverty
Above Poverty

Every household should be able to afford the necessities of a healthy life—medical care, healthy food, quality housing, education, and other basics. Research indicates that economic opportunity is one the most powerful predictors of good health, and that impacts on health are especially pronounced for people in or near poverty.

Employed
Employed

Every household should be able to afford the necessities of a healthy life—medical care, healthy food, quality housing, education, and other basics.  Stable employment provides people with the income necessary to buy these goods and services and maintain good health.

Per Capita Income
Per Capita Income

Every household should be able to afford the necessities of a healthy life—medical care, healthy food, quality housing, education, and other basics. Sufficient income allows households reliable access to the goods and services that are necessary for a healthy life.

Decision Support

Outdoor Workers
Outdoor Workers

Every worker should be safe from heat-related health impacts and other workplace hazards. Working outdoors increases workers’ exposure to the extreme heat, poor air quality, diseases transmitted by ticks and mosquitos, industrial exposures, and injury.

Ozone
Ozone

Everyone should be able to live in neighborhoods where it is safe to breathe. When ozone levels in the air are high, it can cause lung inflammation and more serious respiratory issues.

Supermarket Access
Supermarket Access

Everyone should have access to healthy food options in their community. Having access to a nearby supermarket can encourage a healthier diet and eating behaviors, lower the costs of obtaining food, reduce chronic diseases, and lower the risk of food insecurity.

Two Parent Households
Two Parent Households

Every child, regardless of the size of their household, should have the economic, social and emotional support needed for a healthy life. Living in a home with two married or partnered adults or caregivers can help ensure that children grow up with the support and resources they need to be healthy.

Library Access
Library Access

Everybody should have public library access, which can impact one’s health literacy, quality of life, and social connections within the community. According to the CDC, libraries can improve health literacy and connect community residents to health-related information and resources.

Safe Drinking Water
Safe Drinking Water

Everyone should have access to safe, affordable drinking water. Water is an essential human right needed for healthy outcomes.

Public Transit Access
Public Transit Access

Every person should be able to get to school, work, doctor and dentist appointments, and other destinations that provide essential goods and services. Transit access has been linked to improved physical and mental health, physical activity, employment outcomes, medical care, and resiliency during disasters.

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