Updated April 2014
Throughout the United States, in schools, workplaces and communities, policymakers, employers and government officials are looking at policies, programs and incentives to help make Americans healthier. As health care costs continue to rise, more states are encouraging citizens to become and stay well in order to prevent and mitigate chronic disease. This page provides an overview of NCSL resources on wellness.
- Transforming Health in Tribal Communities (Legisbrief, April 2014).
- Childhood Obesity Legislation - 2013 Update of Policy Options
- Community Transformation Grants (Legisbrief, May 2013).
- Farmers Markets - State Legislation 2012 - NCSL Web Page
- State Innovations in School Nutrition (Legisbrief, November 2012).
- Fresh Food- A Recipe for Healthy Schools and Communities - Materials from an NCSL Legislative Summit Session, August 7, 2012.
- Food Systems: Cultivating Economic Development and Healthy Communities - Materials from an NCSL Spring Forum Session, April 15, 2011.
- Health Summit Preconference 2010: Public Health and Disease Prevention - Contains multi-media from the public health and disease prevention session at the 2010 Health Summit Preconference. It is an overview of the public health and wellness challenges and opportunities under the new health reform law. Includes PowerPoint presentations and a video of the session.
- Wellness Legislation, 2010 - This page lists and summarizes the 2009 carry-over and 2010 introduced wellness legislation, including premium discounts, tax credits and other wellness initiatives.
- State Wellness Legislation - Sample state legislation from 2006 through 2010. Features: school wellness policies, legislation with insurance and fiscal incentives, appropriation bills and other wellness initiatives.
- Promoting Healthy Communities and Preventing Childhood Obesity: Trends in Recent Legislation - This report documents 2009 legislative actions on nutrition standards and physical education in schools, changes in the built environment that encourage more walking and bicycling, and more.
- Healthy Community Design: Bringing Physical Activity and Healthy Foods to Communities - Discover program and policy options policymakers can use in designing and building more healthy communities that benefit residents' health and well-being.
- The New Healthy - Lawmakers are cooking up ways to encourage better eating and bolster local economies. (State Legislatures Magazine, January 2012).
- Chronic Costs - Making healthy choices easier for Americans can prevent deadly diseases and save money (State Legislatures Magazine, December 2009).
- Nutrition Rules - Making healthy food choices available to school kids is a priority for many lawmakers (State Legislatures Magazine, May 2008).
- P.E. Makes a Comeback - Lawmakers looking at physical education to improve kids' health and academic achievement (State Legislatures Magazine, December 2007).
- Growing Groceries in Food Deserts (Legisbrief, April/May 2010).
- State Wellness Initiatives (Legisbrief, March 2010).
- Improving Child Nutrition (Legisbrief, February 2010)
- Physical Activity Guidelines (Legisbrief, February 2009).
- State Workplace Wellness Initiatives (Legisbrief, June/July 2007).
- School Wellness Policies (Legisbrief, November/December 2006).
- Summary of the Final Rule for Nondiscrimination and Wellness Programs in Health Coverage in the Group Market - The Department of Health and Human Services generate final rules to provide guidance for the implementation of wellness programs.
- Webinar Archive
- Q and A With Kevin Concannon - Listen to an audio of Undersecretary Kevin Concannon of the U.S. Department of Agriculture speaking about the need to reauthorize federal nutrition programs at NCSL's 2010 Legislative Summit. Prior to the session, he spoke with NCSL about the role state lawmakers can play.
- "Fresh Food-A Recipe for Healthy Schools and Communities": NCSL session at Legislative Summit, August 7, 2012. Funded in part by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
- "Health and Food Systems - Creating Where Kids Can Thrive": NCSL session at Spring Forum, April 9, 2010. Funded in part by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
- Michael W. Hamm [PowerPoint Slides] Ph.D., C.S. Mott Professor of Sustainable Agriculture, Michigan State University
- Manel Kappagoda [PowerPoint Slides] JD, MPH, Deputy Director, National Policy & Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity
- Crista Essig [PowerPoint Slides] MPH, Public Health Analyst, National Center for Environmental Health and Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Food, Fitness & Economic Development: Listen to this session from the NCSL's 2009 Legislative Summit in Philadelphia
- "Wellness, Healthy Eating and Active Living" [PowerPoint download / slides] (Amy Winterfeld presentation to Michigan Legislature, May 2007).
- "Promoting Wellness and the Return on Investment": NCSL session at Spring Forum, April 25, 2008. Funded in part by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
- Ron Finch [PowerPoint download / slides] Ed.D., VP, National Business Group on Health, Washington, D.C.
- Kimberly Wells [PowerPoint download / slides] Deputy Principal Assistant, Office of the Director, Office of Management and Budget, Dover, Delaware.
- Rear Admiral Penelope Royall [no slides available] P.T., M.S.W., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C.
State Employee and Citizen Wellness Programs*
- Health promotion initiatives for state employees: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.
- State Employee Health Benefits- NCSL Webpage
- Statewide wellness programs for all citizens -- Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia.
*This list is an overview of State Employee and Citizens Wellness Programs, and may not be comprehensive.
Other Non-NCSL Resources
- The Affordable Care Act and Wellness Programs - A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Fact Sheet.
- CDC Vital Signs: Adult Obesity - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released their adult obesity status for 2009. This report looks at some of the statsitics of adult obesity as well as recomendations to change the upward trend of adult obesity in the U.S.
- Shape of the Nation - The National Association for Sport and Physical Education released its report on the status of physical education in each of the states and the District of Columbia. (National Association for Sport and Physical Education, July 2010)
- F as in Fat 2010: How the Obesity Crisis Threatens America’s Future - The Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson released their F as in Fat 2010 report. It highlights public recognition of the issue and acute concern over the prevalence of childhood obesity.The report identifies actions that the federal government and many states are taking to address the epidemic and recommends specific strategies to accelerate momentum. (Trust for America'ss Health and RWJF, June 2010)
- Prevalence of Selected Unhealthy Behavior-Related Characteristics Among Adults Aged ≥18 Years, by Poverty Status - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a "QuickStats" report in its Morbitity and Mortality Weekly publication. It includes a chart of the prevalence of unhealthy behaviors - such as cigarette smoking, physical inactivity and alcohol consumption- by poverty status. (CDC, June 2010)
- State Indicator Report on Physical Activity, 2010 - The State Indicator Report on Physical Activity 2010 has been published by the CDC. It provides information on physical activity behavior and policy and environmental supports within each state. Physical activity, essential to overall health, can help control weight, reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve mental health. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, May 2010)
- American College of Sports Medicine's American Fitness Index - Actively Moving America to Better Health has released its report that ranks the health of America's 50 largest metropolitan areas. The researchers culled data from federal reports and evaluated a multitude of factors, including preventive health behaviors, levels of chronic disease and community health policies. (Actively Moving America to Better Health, May 2010)
- Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity Within a Generation - Report and action plan of the Childhood Obesity Task Force - an Federal interagency task force created by President Obama in February 2010 (Childhood Obesity Task Force, May 2010).
- County Health Rankings - The first set of reports to rank the overall health of every county in all 50 states. The 50 state reports help public health and community leaders, policy-makers, consumers and others to see how healthy their county is, compare it with others within their state and find ways to improve the health of their community. (University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, April 2010).
- Shortchanging America's Health - Report finds federal spending for public health has been flat for nearly five years, while states around the country cut nearly $392 million for public health programs in the past year. These cuts leave communities around the country struggling to deliver basic disease prevention and emergency health preparedness services (Trust for America's Health, March 2010).
- Health Affairs Highlights Key Research on Childhood Obesity - In its March 2010 issue, Health Affairs focuses almost exclusively on the childhood obesity epidemic and the policy approaches that could have greatest impact for helping to solve this public health crisis (Health Affairs, March 2010).
- Chronic Disease Prevention Toolkit - Contains publications, tools, and other resources related to chronic disease prevention and health promotion. Many of the tools resulted from collaboration among NACCHO's Chronic Disease Prevention Project, national organizations, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NACCHO, 2010).
- A Compendium of Proven Community-Based Prevention Programs - Report includes proven community-based programs to address a variety of chronic diseases and wellness issues including: cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, tobacco use, asthma, falls among the elderly, and sexually transmitted diseases (The New York Academy of Medicine, 2009).
Recent News Items
Updated November 2012
Submit a question to NCSL (Legislators & staff only)
NOTE: NCSL provides links to other Web sites from time to time for information purposes only. Providing these links does not necessarily indicate NCSL's support or endorsement of the site.