5 April 2006

US Healthy PLACES Bill calls for HIAs to be undertaken


Washington DC
Originally uploaded by bport.
United States senators Barack Obama and Hilda Solis announced that they would introduce the Healthy PLACES (Priorities for Living Actively in Community Environments) Act this week as part of the American Public Health Association's Designing Healthy Communities, Raising Healthy Kids week. The bill's focus is on improving urban and environmental design in order to prevent chronic disease and promote physical activity.

The bill includes measures aimed at supporting the voluntary use of HIA:
Health Impact Assessments The bill would establish a program to support voluntary Health Impact Assessments (HIA). States and communities could conduct HIAs to assess the effect of major policy or programmatic changes on the health of the community. Source
There is, of course, a huge gap (and a lot of negotiation) between a bill being introduced to the US Congress and it being passed. The fact that HIA is being discussed at a political level at all is something of an achievement however, illustrating that it's on US decision-makers' radars in some form.

Links
Op-Ed piece by Barack Obama and Georges Benjamin about the Healthy PLACES bill
WHO Healthy Environments for Children Alliance's Framework for Action