Strategy HCO4.4: Conduct Health Impact Assessments for publicly-funded projects to evaluate their potential community health outcomes.
Conditions in the places where we live, work, and play have a tremendous impact on health. It is much easier to stay healthy when people can easily and safely walk, run, or bike; when the air is clean, and people have access to healthy food and affordable housing; and when communities are safe from things like violent crime, fires, and lead poisoning. Every day, policy makers in many sectors have opportunities to make choices that—if they took health into account—could help stem the growth of pressing health problems like obesity, injury, asthma, and diabetes that have such a huge impact on our nation’s health care costs and on people’s quality of life.
Health impact assessment (HIA) is a fast-growing field that helps policy makers take advantage of these opportunities by bringing together scientific data, health expertise, and public input to identify the potential—and often overlooked—health effects of proposed new laws, regulations, projects, and programs. It offers practical recommendations for ways to minimize risks and capitalize on opportunities to improve health. HIA gives decision makers the information they need to advance smarter policies today to help build safe, thriving communities tomorrow.