Many local programs and services administered by cities
and counties create opportunities to provide health benefits to
residents and users; for example, park and recreation services
offer increased options for physical activity. Other examples of
services provided by local agencies that improve health and
safety include emergency planning, elder care, job creation and
financial assistance programs, among others.
Local agencies are responsible for building and
maintaining much of the infrastructure and public facilities in
their communities. Such capital improvements typically include a
variety of civic buildings, water and sewer lines and treatment
facilities, parks and recreational facilities and an extensive
network of local streets and sidewalks. These public facilities
and infrastructure offer another way for local officials to
integrate health considerations into their decisions.
Full-service grocery stores are valuable neighborhood assets.
Providing incentives for grocery stores to locate in underserved
neighborhoods is a beneficial strategy to improve health, because
access to grocery stores is correlated with increased consumption
of fruits and vegetables and decreased intake of fat.53 Attracting and
supporting grocery stores can also improve the neighborhood’s
economic sustainability by anchoring future retail development,
providing tax revenue and creating local jobs.