DASH-NY seeks to transform the food and physical activity options in New York State by supporting policy initiatives focusing on four priority areas. As we pursue these aims, we intend to work through sustainable, mutually supportive strategies. Ending obesity is our goal, but we will reach that objective by identifying synergies that support multiple environmental, economic and community goals. For example:
•Promoting mixed land use and Smart Growth can facilitate physical activity and add to retail property values.
•Encouraging bicycling instead of car use can promote tourism and cut down on carbon emissions.
•Strategies that support local agriculture and promote farmer's markets sustain New York's farmers and increase access to healthy foods.
Designing Strong and Healthy NeighborhoodsWe aim to make changes in community and building design, land use, transportation, and economic development that support access to healthy foods and routine physical activity.
For example, low-income areas often lack transportation links to larger food retailers like supermarkets. Creating regional policies that ensure public transportation between residential areas and retailers can support healthy eating and business development.
Another example is to promote a diverse land-use mix. Development policies that preserve or promote a mix of uses within a defined area, like residences, offices, schools, retail, and cultural spaces, promote walking and correlate with lower rates of obesity.
Learn MoreGreen Options Buffalo
Empire State Future and Partners for a Livable Western New York
New York State Transportation Equity Alliance
Project for Public Spaces
SUNY Albany Initiative for Healthy Infrastructure
Designing Strong and Healthy Places for ChildrenSchool health, children’s settings, and marketing practices aimed at children are important areas for intervention to prevent childhood obesity.
For example, joint-use agreements that open schoolyards during after-school and weekend hours have been shown to increase children’s physical activity.i Particularly in low-income areas and rural areas with fewer recreational spaces, identifying policies that facilitate the use of the joint-use concept can help increase access to play spaces for thousands of New York’s children and youth, as well as adults.
Santa Clara County in California passed an ordinance preventing restaurants from offering free toys with the sale of unhealthy meals. This is an example of the type of regulation New York counties can consider to prevent direct marketing of unhealthy foods to children.
Learn MoreHealthiKids Coalition (Rochester and Monroe County)
New York City Food and Fitness Partnership
NY Coalition for Healthy School Food Partnership
NYC Strategic Alliance for Health
NYS DOT Safe Routes to Schools Program
Designing Strong and Healthy Food Systems
Retail-food access, government food programs, government food procurement, and tax policies, shape the food available across our state and in our neighborhoods. Policy approaches to designing a strong and healthy food system include taxing unhealthy foods like high-calorie sugary beverages or removing taxes from low-calorie drinks.
Developing government food procurement policies that ensure all foods sold on government property, like parks, public buildings, and public hospitals, or purchased with public funds, like at senior centers and schools, meet nutritional standards can help improve the quality of millions meals served each day in New York.
A third example is implementing regional food policy councils, which could help create comprehensive local food system policies that improve health.
Learn MoreFood Systems Network NYC
Cityharvest Healthy Neighborhoods Program
Hunger Action Network of NYS
UFCW Building Blocks Project
Designing Strong and Healthy WorkplacesThere is strong evidence that improving worksite food options (such as those offered through vending and worksite cafeterias) can improve the diets of employees.i New York’s health care and hospital systems are our largest employer. Implementing healthy-food policies and physical activity breaks in these systems could be instrumental in improving the health of thousands of workers.
[i] Worksite Health Promotion Programs with Environmental Changes: A Systematic Review
American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Volume 29, Issue 1, July 2005, Pages 61-70
Luuk H. Engbers, Mireille N.M. van Poppel, Marijke J.M. Chin A Paw, Willem van Mechelen