Shaping the context of health: a review of environmental and policy approaches in the prevention of chronic diseases

Annu Rev Public Health. 2006;27:341-70. doi: 10.1146/annurev.publhealth.27.021405.102137.


Given the growing attention on how environmental and policy interventions can affect chronic disease burden, our objectives are to describe (a) effective and promising interventions to address tobacco use, physical activity, and healthy eating and (b) lessons learned from the literature and practice experience in applying environmental and policy approaches. A total of 17 interventions were reviewed, organized across 3 domains affecting the physical environment/access, economic environment, and communication environment. Many of these interventions are effective. Several lessons are important to consider, such as the need to start with environmental and policy approaches, intervene comprehensively and across multiple levels, make use of economic evaluations, make better use of existing analytic tools, understand the politics and local context, address health disparities, and conduct sound policy research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease*
  • Diet
  • Environmental Health*
  • Exercise
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Policy*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Smoking
  • United States