Healthy Communities Program
Chronic diseases and injuries are responsible for approximately two-thirds of all deaths in North Carolina, or about 50,000 deaths each year. Cancer, heart disease, stroke, chronic lung disease and unintentional injuries make up the top five causes of death in North Carolina. Many deaths in the state are preventable and involve risky behaviors or lifestyles. Among the leading causes of preventable death are tobacco use, unhealthy diet/physical inactivity, alcohol and drug abuse and misuse, and motor vehicle crashes.
The Healthy Communities Program, formerly the Statewide Health Promotion Program, supports community-based programs that improve the health of North Carolinians by reducing the prevalence of chronic diseases and preventing unintentional injury. Funds are distributed to local health departments throughout the state to work with community partners in creating policy changes and environmental supports addressing at least one of the major chronic disease and injury risk factors.
The Healthy Communities Program seeks to address the risk factors of physical inactivity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, violence and unintentional injury. Research shows that implementing systems and environmental changes, such as providing access to nutritious foods, improving safe options for active transportation, promoting tobacco free facilities, supporting diabetes management programs, providing evidence-based practices and interventions for violence and injury prevention in communities and other broad-based strategies, can result in positive behavior changes that decrease chronic diseases and injuries and improve health.
The Healthy Communities Program operates in North Carolina counties through local health departments organized by county or regional district.
The North Carolina General Assembly created the N.C. Statewide Health Promotion Program in 1987. Recognized as the first in the nation, the program sustains ongoing, comprehensive chronic disease and injury prevention efforts. In 2012 the Statewide Health Promotion Program was renamed the Healthy Communities Program to reflect a broader community focus.
The Healthy Communities Program provides funding for county and district health departments to develop and implement community-based initiatives to create policies and environments that support increased physical activity, promote healthy eating, reduce obesity, prevent the use of tobacco, support diabetes self-management and prevent violence and injury.
The Healthy Communities Program directs local health departments to implement strategies that align with the Chronic Disease and Injury Section’s Coordinated Chronic Disease, Injury and Health Promotion State Plan. The goal is to help local public health departments build sustainable programs and policies that reflect this coordinated approach. Local Health Departments develop annual action plans that include one or more strategies:
Local Examples: Franklin County Health Department Health Promotion has partnered with community organizations to:
- Promote the adoption of physical activity in early childcare and education settings or worksites.
- Promote Eat Smart, Move More Weigh Less to county employees
- Conduct media campaigns to to promote tobacco cessation, prevention and eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke
- Educate stakeholders about important health issues, and behaviors
- And Much, Much More!
Click on the links below to learn more about the following: