NACDD’s Healthy Community Updates and Reflections

It has been a very busy year the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors’ (NACDD) Healthy Communities and Physical Activity projects! During Fiscal Year 2017-2018, NACDD worked hard to increase access and opportunity for people to eat healthier and to be more physically active through several projects, including those highlighted below:

Reaching People with Disabilities through Healthy Communities

NACDD, with funding support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Disability and Health Branch and expertise from the National Center for Health, Physical Activity, and Disability (NCHPAD), is finishing a national pilot project involving 10 local communities from five states. For the first time, community changes for healthy eating, physical activity, and tobacco prevention or reduction are being made to be more inclusive to persons with disabilities. In 2015, NACDD began its work with two communities from five of CDC’s State Disability and Health programs–Iowa, Montana, New York, Ohio, and Oregon–to implement new policies, systems, or environments (PSE) that would yield more access or opportunity for people to eat healthier, engage in physical activity, andto  refrain from using tobacco products.

Each community was paired with a state expert advisor from CDC’s State Disability and Health program alongside NACDD’s project team to focus on the new healthy community PSE improvements to become more inclusive to persons with disabilities. The NACDD’s project team is in the process of finalizing project data and looks forward to sharing the final results in a future Impact Brief. It is estimated that the communities collectively implemented more than 100 inclusive PSE changes, and have formally integrated persons with disabilities and disability advocates officially into their ongoing Healthy Community efforts.

Through collaboration with NCHPAD, overall project and individual community videos were developed that help to tell the story of how this pilot project has influenced lives and healthy living. If you have any questions on how to promote inclusive healthy living in your community or state, please visit NACDD’s Reaching People with Disabilities in Healthy Communities program webpage.  

Walkability Action Institute


2018 Cohort:

Albuquerque, NM

Allegheny County, PA

Anchorage, AK
Eau Claire, WI

Hidalgo County, TX

Las Vegas, NV
 Lawrence/Douglas Counties, KS
 Richmond, VA
 Springfield, MO

NACDD, with funding support from CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO), implemented the fourth annual Action Institute to Increase Walking and Walkability in Decatur, Georgia, from April 9 –12, 2018. Referred to as the Walkability Action Institute (WAI), this multi-day course was implemented for nine new, interdisciplinary teams who received expert faculty instruction from some of the nation’s most renowned leaders in public health, planning, advocacy, development, transportation, and community design. The course included keynote presentations, and experiential learning activities–such as outdoor inclusive walk audits and scavenger hunts–all to assist attending teams with developing an action plan for their respective walkability strategies.

The 2018 cohort of teams now marks 41 total teams who have participated across the four-year project period to make lasting PSE changes promoting improved environmental design, municipal policy structure, and systems improvements to improve active transportation. To date, more than 325 related changes have reached nearly 19,000,000 people across the United States. For more information on NACDD’s WAI and the institute’s efforts, please visit the Healthy Communities webpage.

 Physical Activity Assessment Tool

 NACDD, with support from CDC DNPAO and with collaboration and expertise from each CDC DNPAO, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), and Healthy Places By Design (HPBD), developed a new Physical Activity Assessment Tool. Developed and designed from the premise of The Community Guide and the Community Preventive Services Task Force’s recommendations, this tool will assist local public health (and partner) users by examining current infrastructure and progress in achieving interventions specifically related to pedestrian and bicycle transportation system, land use, and environmental design improvements. Related physical activity indicators and modules were developed and pilot tested by nine pilot teams comprised of representatives from public health, planning, parks and recreation, and/or education. An advisory council provided input into the total project process of tool development during the fiscal year. It is anticipated that this tool will be used in the future by DNPAO-funded grantees and will allow CDC to gain more information on the types of efforts being achieved in local communities and states towards active transportation improvements.

 The NACDD project team, along with UNC and HPBD, currently are finalizing the tool for DNPAO, which will go through an extensive clearance process. Once the clearance process is finished, NACDD will work with DNPAO to share the new tool broadly with the Association’s Members.