Active and Healthy Communities in Chittenden County

bike lane at night

When the place where we live makes it easy for everyone to exercise and eat well, fewer people will suffer from injury, cancer, diabetes, stroke, heart and lung disease. Our goal is to help shape our communities to support health and well-being. To do this we:

  • promote safe, pleasant and accessible places for all people to walk, roll or bicycle
  • promote use of public transit
  • ensure access to healthy and affordable food
  • ensure safe, quality housing

We work with community organizations, municipal and regional planners, schools and health care providers. We begin with conversations to learn what is important to our community. From there, we find ways to weave in health and wellness improvements that fit the priorities of our towns, such as economic development. All Vermonters will thrive when our living conditions help to eliminate differences in health for different groups of people.

Use the Public Health Data Explorer to learn about health and wellness where you live.

How We Can Help
street with bike lane and sidewalk There are many ways that the Burlington office can help shape a healthier community. We can:
  • share examples of language that promotes health with cities and towns in order to strengthen regional plans.
  • provide a Safe Routes to Schools Regional Expert to provide support to schools.
  • provide public health data and information to inform planning.
  • provide education about why sidewalks and healthy foods options in local markets are important.
  • connect you with useful resources and provide examples of similar work done in other communities to help you on your way.
  • look for funds to help town officials and organizations support health-promoting efforts
Local Highlights

See a list of healthy community design recommendations. In the Burlington Local Health Office we have longstanding partnerships with those who work in transportation, land use, and parks and recreation. These formal partnerships began with our participation in the ECOS Project and Plan. As a result of this work, our local health staff have been at the table with community partners helping to promote healthy community design for over five years. Recent initiatives in which we have participated include:

  • Chittenden County Active Transportation Plan – provides recommendations for facilities, programs and policies to support active transportation (walking, bicycling, running, etc.) in the region.
  • Plan BTV Walk/Bike – a citywide planning effort to enhance safety and increase active mobility in Burlington.
  • Go Chittenden County! - a partnership of the region’s transportation service providers, organizations, and advocates collaborating to make getting around the region easier.

Health Impact Assessements

A Health Impact Assessment studies the potential impacts to health of decisions about policies or programs. We have conducted Health Impact Assessments on four  projects in our district. The first was conducted as a companion to the North Avenue Corridor Study in Burlington, the second assessed a transportation project in Milton, and the third focused on the Plan BTV South End and examined the potential mental health, physical activity and access impacts of this evolving plan. The fourth focused on health impacts of proposed changes to school transportation policy in the newly consolidated Essex Westford School District.

3-4-50 Prevent Chronic Disease
famers market sign What does 3-4-50 mean?

3 behaviors – lack of physical activity, poor diet, and tobacco use – lead to 4 chronic diseases – cancer, heart disease and stroke, type 2 diabetes, and lung disease – that are the cause of more than 50 percent of all deaths in Vermont.

This understanding inspires us to take action. Communities that are built to support physical activity, safe walking and biking, use of public transportation, and easy access to fresh foods are essential for good health.

See how Vermont Cities & Towns support health


Contact Us

Ed, Public Health Specialist