Housing and health: time again for public health action

Am J Public Health. 2002 May;92(5):758-68. doi: 10.2105/ajph.92.5.758.


Poor housing conditions are associated with a wide range of health conditions, including respiratory infections, asthma, lead poisoning, injuries, and mental health. Addressing housing issues offers public health practitioners an opportunity to address an important social determinant of health. Public health has long been involved in housing issues. In the 19th century, health officials targeted poor sanitation, crowding, and inadequate ventilation to reduce infectious diseases as well as fire hazards to decrease injuries. Today, public health departments can employ multiple strategies to improve housing, such as developing and enforcing housing guidelines and codes, implementing "Healthy Homes" programs to improve indoor environmental quality, assessing housing conditions, and advocating for healthy, affordable housing. Now is the time for public health to create healthier homes by confronting substandard housing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Home / prevention & control
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / prevention & control
  • Animals
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Asthma / prevention & control
  • Building Codes
  • Consumer Advocacy
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Environmental Exposure / prevention & control*
  • Fires / prevention & control
  • Health Status*
  • Housing / standards*
  • Humans
  • Lead Poisoning / prevention & control
  • Pest Control
  • Public Health Administration*
  • Safety*
  • Sanitation
  • Social Conditions*
  • United States / epidemiology