Improving the Health of All Americans by Focusing on Communities

Where you live matters to your health. In fact, your ZIP code may be more important to your health than your genetic code. The communities where people live, learn, work, and play shape how well and how long they live.

In 2009, the RWJF Commission to Build a Healthier America report Overcoming Obstacles to Health urged communities to take a holistic view of health, incorporating it into their decisions and planning for education, transportation, housing, economic development, and other areas, and to work with leaders in these sectors to improve health.

This fact sheet reviews how communities can affect health, including the impact of housing and transportation on health.