Stepping Up Active Transportation in Community Health Improvement Plans: Findings From a National Probability Survey of Local Health Departments

J Phys Act Health. 2019 Sep 1;16(9):772-779. doi: 10.1123/jpah.2018-0623. Epub 2019 Jul 30.


Background: Local health departments (LHDs) are increasingly involved in Community Health Improvement Plans (CHIPs), a collaborative planning process that represents an opportunity for prioritizing physical activity. We determined the proportion of LHDs reporting active transportation strategies in CHIPs and associations between LHD characteristics and such strategies.

Methods: A national probability survey of US LHDs (<500,000 residents; 30.2% response rate) was conducted in 2017 (n = 162). LHDs reported the inclusion of 8 active transportation strategies in a CHIP. We calculated the proportion of LHDs reporting each strategy. Multivariate logistic regression models determined the associations between LHD characteristics and inclusion of strategies in a CHIP. Inverse probability weights were applied for each stratum.

Results: 45.6% of US LHDs reported participating in a CHIP with ≥1 active transportation strategy. Proportions for specific strategies ranged from 22.3% (Safe Routes to School) to 4.1% (Transit-Oriented Development). Achieving national accreditation (odds ratio [OR] = 3.67; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.11-12.05), pursuing accreditation (OR = 3.40; 95% CI, 1.25-9.22), using credible resources (OR = 5.25; 95% CI, 1.77-15.56), and collaborating on a Community Health Assessment (OR = 4.48; 95% CI, 1.23-16.29) were associated with including a strategy in a CHIP after adjusting for covariates.

Conclusions: CHIPs are untapped tools, but national accreditation, using credible resources, and Community Health Assessment collaboration may support strategic planning efforts to improve physical activity.

Keywords: community health planning; physical activity; public health systems research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bicycling / statistics & numerical data*
  • Exercise*
  • Health Resources
  • Humans
  • Local Government
  • Logistic Models
  • Public Health
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Transportation / methods*
  • Walking / statistics & numerical data*