Environmental Metrics for Community Health Improvement

Environmental factors greatly affect human health. Accordingly, environmental metrics are a key part of the community health information base.

In this study, researchers review environmental metrics relevant to community health, including measurements of contaminants in environmental media, such as air, water, and food; measurements of contaminants in people (biomonitoring); measurements of features of the built environment that affect health; and measurements of “upstream” environmental conditions relevant to health. They offer a set of metrics (including unhealthy exposures, such as pollutants, and health-promoting assets, such as parks and green space) selected on the basis of relevance to health outcomes, magnitude of associated health outcomes, corroboration in the peer reviewed literature, and data availability, especially at the community level, and recommend ways to use these metrics most effectively.