As Vermonters, we take great pride in our quality of life, strong communities, natural places and commitment to healthy living. We share a common goal: to ensure that our state continues to be one of the healthiest and best places in the U.S. for all of us to live, work and play. Complex problems cannot be solved by one agency or discipline alone. We must work together across agencies for collective impact.
what is health in all policies?
Health in All Policies (HiAP) is a collaborative approach to improving the health of all people by incorporating health considerations into decision making of cross-sectors and policy areas. A Health in All Policies approach identifies the ways in which decisions in multiple sectors affect health and how better health can support the goals of multiple sectors. The goal is to ensure that decision-makers are informed about the health consequences of various policy options during the decision making process.
Why Health in all policies?
Cross-sector action is needed to create health equity. Health outcomes are determined less by our access to health care services and the quality of those services – and more by the combination of health behaviors and the social and economic circumstances into which we are born and live. These social and economic circumstances are the roots of inequality.
THE HIAP Task Force
The Health in All Policies Task Force is a cabinet level body established by Executive Order No. 7-15 to identify programs, policies and strategies to improve the health of Vermonters, especially vulnerable populations and to coordinate across agencies around issues of healthy communities. The Task Force has identified equity, affordability and access as its core values.
The Task Force developed a Health and Equity Framework for creating economically and socially vibrant communities that build upon the shared values of equity, access and affordability. The framework identified potential areas of impact and domains for measuring successes.
The HiAP Task Force provides an annual report to the governor on –
- Potential opportunities to include health criteria in regulatory, programmatic and budgetary decisions
- Promising practices in other jurisdictions to identify opportunities for innovation and coordination across sectors that include consideration of potential positive and negative health impacts of decisions
- Evidence-based actions and policies to improve the wellness of state employees across state government, including healthy food procurement policies
The Task Force will seek to enhance health while advancing our other goals, such as protecting natural resources and agricultural lands, increasing the availability of affordable housing, improving air and water quality, improving infrastructure systems, promoting public health and active lifestyles, planning sustainable communities, increasing educational attainment and meeting the state’s climate change goals.
Health in All Policies Efforts Underway
Vermont already has many examples of a Health in All Policies approach. The challenge and opportunity now is to maximize the impact through system-wide changes supported by a cabinet level Task Force empowered to utilize the authority and tools of government.
The state has the “power of the purse” to promote the purchase, and offering, of healthy local foods. Vermont has developed standards to be used whenever food is offered at cafes and cafeterias on state property or at state funded meetings, conferences, and events that are paid for with state or federal dollars (in accordance with the Department of Finance and Management Policy 4.0 Department Provided Food and Refreshments).
The Healthy Food Standards for State Government provides a basic description of standards developed to comply with 29 V.S.A. § 160c.
The Healthy Food Standards Implementation Guide offers suggestions regarding the various options for implementation and some tips from the field.
The Healthy Eating Guidelines for Worksites offers suggestions for food options at workplace gatherings that can promote healthier food choices by following the recommendations put forth by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
- Barre Town Plan
- ECOS Sustainability Project
- Support and Services at Home (SASH)
- Indoor Air Quality and Lead Abatement
- Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) prescriptions for health
- Farm to School and Farm to Plate
- Complete Streets
- Health Impact Assessments