Frequently Asked Questions
What is the ENACT Local Policy Database?
The Environmental Nutrition and Activity Local Policy Database is a searchable database designed to provide community advocates, health professionals, policymakers and those working in related fields with concrete examples of local-level policies that have been adopted and/or implemented to improve food and physical activity environments. From joint use agreements to food procurement and healthy vending resolutions, we hope to capture what cities, counties, special districts, regional bodies and school districts are doing to make healthy eating and activity a more realistic option. This database is part of Prevention Institute’s work to support local efforts through Strategic Alliance, a statewide network of food and physical activity advocates calling for corporate and government action to support healthy eating and activity in every community.
How do you define the term “local”?
We are defining local policy as action at the city, county or regional level or by special districts such as school districts, boards of health, air quality management districts or transportation districts. We will not be including policies adopted at the state or federal levels, even if the implementation occurs at a local level, like a city or county.
What kinds of policies does the database include?
Policies that potentially influence food and activity environments, with a particular focus on policies that improve opportunities or reduce barriers to eat healthy and get active. These may relate to school policy, land use, transportation, planning, zoning or community development. Ideally, we’d like to provide people with concrete examples of policies that have been implemented and evaluated; however, because the field is relatively new, we are anticipating that many efforts will be early in implementation, at best. We are thinking broadly about environmental influences on eating and activity, so we may include policies that do not have explicit nutrition and physical activity elements. For example, policies aimed at land conservation of parks and open space may not be designed with the specific goal of promoting activity; however, national data suggests that there is strong evidence that enhancement and creation of open spaces increases physical activity. We plan to capture these types of local policies in the database.
How do I get a local policy from my community included in the database?
We welcome local policies from your community or if you know of a great example from another locale. We have developed inclusion criteria to guide our policy selection process. We will do our best to be systematic, while balancing our resources and capacity of the database. We will not be able to include all policies, but we are aiming to create a resource that is relevant and useful to our users. If you would like to contribute a local policy that impacts healthy eating and activity, please submit here or contact Janet Pan at email@example.com or 510.444.7738.
What are your criteria for inclusion?
We are concentrating on local policies throughout the United States that improve physical activity and food environments. Policies that focus on environmental and population level change will be prioritized over those that target individual behavioral change. The foundation of the database will be current policies that are being proposed and recently implemented policies. We will also be examining the feasibility of the policy to be replicated in other localities. We have developed inclusion criteria to guide our policy selection process, and we can make these available to you if you are interested. Please contact Linda@preventioninstitute.org.
How is the database related to ENACT and the Strategic Alliance?
Great question! Strategic Alliance, an initiative of Prevention Institute, is a network of food and activity advocates who are committed to supporting and developing environmental and policy solutions to make healthy eating and active living a realistic option for all. In our work, we have learned that local policy is crucial to building a movement, because local policies can and do influence statewide policies. Our hope is that this database will stimulate effective policy changes by providing people with examples of efforts from around the nation as well as connecting people together. The database will interface with the Alliance ’s Environmental Nutrition & Activity Community Tool (ENACT). ENACT is an online assessment and planning tool with a menu of strategies for improving nutrition and activity environments, supporting research, case studies and sample policies. We invite you to visit the Strategic Alliance website to learn more about other cross-cutting strategies and policies aimed at improving the food and physical activity environment.
How did this project get started?
In 2005, Prevention Institute received a 3 year funding from The California Endowment to develop the database. During those years, we conducted research to identify promising local policies influencing the food and activity environment throughout California. Although the initial project has come to a close, we are continuously researching and examining policies to build our database. Since then, we have even expanded the database to include policies from localities across the nation.