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Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Program (NUPAO)

AZ Healthy Communities

Making the healthy choice the easy choice.

Where you live impacts your health, and Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) has recognized this connection. Working collaboratively with outside agencies, ADHS plans to help foster environments that support healthy behavior, such as biking and walking.

The purpose of AZ Healthy Communities is to link and support Arizona communities that are using, or are interested in using, collaborative approaches to healthy community planning and the promotion of healthy lifestyles. AZ Healthy Communities strives to increase neighborhoods that promote healthier lifestyles, increase evidence on the effectiveness of innovative healthy community planning, and decrease health and social inequities by focusing on the influence of where we live.

General and Comprehensive Plans

The General and Comprehensive Plans are the primary land use policy documents for cities and counties in Arizona, updated every ten years. Largely based on a community’s vision and goals gathered through public comment phases, these plans guide future development and growth. For example, general and comprehensive plans will dictate the location of new homes, commercial and industrial sites, parks and new roads. These elements can impact the health of a community by strategically planning a built environment that supports walking, biking and transit as transportation modes and allowing for easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Ideally, a good General or Comprehensive Plan will protect and improve the quality of life and health of a community.


Information for Community Members
Reviews the different component of general and comprehensive plans, and how community members can decide if theirs supports health.

Arizona General Plan Resources
Contains detailed information on contact information, public comment phases, timelines and links to current documents for Arizona General Plans.

Toolkit: How to Create and Implement Healthy General Plans
Provides a series of steps for public health advocates to become involved in the general plan process and for how to create and implement policy language.

Healthy Eating Active Living Cities Campaign
A campaign in California that documents and tracks how California General Plans incorporate and support healthy living and public health.

Comprehensive Planning for Public Health
Highlights the results of a web-based survey used to identify draft and adopted comprehensive and sustainability plans that explicitly address public health.

Healthy Community ToolkitPDF
The Healthy Community Design Toolkit is a guidebook for Arizona communities to make changes that will result in a built environment that supports a healthy lifestyle. The guidebook was created by the Healthy Community Design Collaborative, which includes American Planning Association Arizona Chapter (APAAZ), Sonoran Institute, Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH), Livable Communities Coalition, St. Luke's Health Initiative and ChangeLab Solutions. The toolkit provides guidance on incorporating healthy community policies into general plans and comprehensive plans, helpful checklists and example policies.