Community-wide obesity prevention: Re-connecting public health, urban planning, and public policy in three Missouri communities

Phillip Valko, Jennifer Allen, Cynthia Mense, Sarah Worthington, Janice Sommers, Ross Brownson, Mariah Dreisinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Trailnet's Healthy, Active & Vibrant Communities Initiative (HAVC) is a model that has demonstrated significant early successes at creating environments, policies, and social networks that support and promote healthy eating and active lifestyles. The HAVC Initiative uses community engagement and community development principles to build communities' capacity to implement evidencebased and promising strategies in three diverse community settings in the St. Louis region. Trailnet works with each community to develop and institutionalize a multi-disciplinary taskforce of local leaders that coordinates and champions efforts. Taskforce members are involved at all stages, including conducting community readiness and community needs assessments that guide efforts. HAVC activities are tailored to complement the unique assets, needs, and interests of each community. Early successes and a third-party evaluation, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) have identified the HAVC Initiative as an "emerging intervention." This paper presents the underlying theory, process, and key lessons-learned from the HAVC Initiative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-166
Number of pages15
JournalCommunity Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Built environment
  • Obesity prevention
  • Public health
  • Public policy
  • Social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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