222307 Promoting healthy and active living through comprehensive plans: An evaluation of the effectiveness of a children's health system's participation in a county comprehensive plan update

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Patricia Miller, MPP , Policy, Evaluation, and Research Dept, Nemours Health and Prevention Services, Newark, DE
Marina Kaplan, PhD , Policy, Evaluation, and Research Dept, Nemours Health & Prevention Services, Newark, DE
Gregory Benjamin, MPH , Policy, Evaluation, and Research Dept, Nemours Health & Prevention Services, Newark, DE
To prevent the continued development of obesogenic environments in Delaware, a non-profit children's health system is proactively promoting healthy communities through built environment improvements that support healthy and active lifestyles. Their recommendations focus on: compact mixed land use; active transportation; active recreation; and healthy food access.

During the public comment period for the 2007 Kent County comprehensive plan update, the health system submitted a position paper and testimony with data illustrating environmental barriers to healthy and active lifestyles in the county and recommendations for improvements . Delaware code requires that all county land use plans be regularly updated through a public planning process with citizen participation. These plans articulate goals and policies of county land use and provide a framework for zoning and ordinances.

Two studies evaluated the outcomes of the health system's participation in the plan update:

Study 1: Document review of the 2002 and 2007 Kent County Comprehensive Plans (pre- and post-participation) Study 2: Key informant interviews assessing stakeholder perceptions of the effectiveness of the health system's participation.

The document review revealed more recommendations in 2007 than in 2002 for all four focus areas mentioned above. Interview respondents reported that the health system brought to the forefront the connection between health and planning that had previously been unrecognized. Their testimony was seen as especially powerful, adding credibility to the issue by providing evidence and statistics on healthy communities and a new and different perspective.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Develop and implement an effective initiative for ensuring that opportunities for healthy and active living are incorporated in comprehensive land use plans 2. Evaluate the effectiveness of incorporating healthy and active living concepts into comprehensive land use plans

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified as an abstract author because I am in charge of the built environment content area for my organization.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.