Model communities as a strategy for achieving policy, systems and environmental change for obesity control and reduction

Rachael D. Dombrowski*, Maryann Mason, Sarah B. Welch, Christina Welter, Gina Massuda Barnett, Adlin Cedeño

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Suburban Cook County, Illinois is a large, geopolitically complex region in the Midwestern United States. To meet the unique needs of this jurisdiction, the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) in partnership with the Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago (PHIMC) utilized funding from the US Department of Health and Human Services to initiate the Model Communities (MC) grant program as a component of their broad-based efforts to change policies and environments to promote healthy eating and active living, and prevent obesity. The MC strategy aims to build organizational and community capacity by providing local governments, school districts, and community-based institutions with resources and tools to address obesity through implementation of policy, systems and environmental change (PSE). PSE changes are an effective strategy in addressing complex public health issues by prompting and reinforcing health behaviors at the population level. Through alliance strengthening, capacity building and health communications the MC strategy has already shown initial success among the 38 funded entities. At the midpoint of the grant cycle, five local governments have passed ordinances related to community design for active living; nine local governments and community-based institutions have increased healthy food access for residents; 83 schools have improved their school food environments and 59 schools have increased opportunities for physical activity among students and school staff. This program is likely to offer insights to other areas with similar complex environments and is a model that can be applied to other complex public health issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBuilding Community Capacity
Subtitle of host publicationCase Examples from Around the World
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781624171765
ISBN (Print)9781624171758
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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