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.
- 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
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 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.
Active Living and Healthy Eating (link is external) - Vermont Healthy Community Design Resource
Examples for Creating Healthy Communites: Physical Activity, Healthy Eating, Tobacco, Alchol & Drug Abuse Prevention (link is external)- Vermont Healthy Community Design Resource
Complete Streets: Guide for Vermont Communities (link is external) - to assist towns with examples
3-4-50 Prevent Chronic Disease (link is external)
Physical Activity & Nutrition in Vermont Communities (link is external)
Health in All Policies Scorecard (link is external)
Environmental Health in Vermont (link is external)
Chronic Disease in Vermont - Data
Trail Finder (link is external)
VT State Parks (link is external)
Free Falls Prevention Resources (link is external)
Hunger Free Vermont (link is external)
Safe Routes to School (link is external)
CounterBalance (link is external)- a campaign directed towards the tobacco industry’s influence on youth