Green Health

Building a Foundation for Research and Action

In October 2011, NCCOR and the National Academy of Environmental Design co-sponsored a two-day workshop in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Center for Green Schools. The Green Health: Building Sustainable Schools for Healthy Kids Workshop brought together a diverse, multidisciplinary group of participants to examine: a) how environmental design strategies can be better used to promote physical activity and healthy eating in school environments, and

b) how childhood obesity prevention can be better integrated into school-based sustainability and green-building initiatives.

A growing body of evidence clearly shows that alterations in individual behaviors alone are not enough to change the course of the childhood obesity epidemic. Environmental design at various levels—from regional land-use patterns all the way down to the design of a classroom—can do much to influence children's social norms and behaviors related to dietary choices and daily physical activity.

One of the five goals of the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) is to work with non-health partners on synergistic initiatives that integrate childhood obesity priorities and promote transdisciplinary research. Since 2010, NCCOR has explored ways to collaborate with the sustainability-focused green design and building industries. This partnership has resulted in a portfolio of innovative "green health" activities.

Public Health and the Green Building Industry: Partnership Opportunities for Childhood Obesity Prevention

The May 2013 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine includes an article co-authored by NCCOR members and Green Health workshop participants. The article emphasizes the importance of a partnership between public health and the green building industry and lays out seven principles to guide the emerging field of green health research and practice that can be applied to childhood obesity prevention.

Green Health Infographic

View our infographic that highlights seven recommended green health strategies to help improve our built environments and combat childhood obesity.

Healthy Eating Design Guidelines for School Architecture

NCCOR members participated in an innovative collaboration between architects, schools, and scientists to develop a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to improving school environments for children's health.

Healthy Eating Design Guidelines for School Architecture gives architecture and public health practitioners as well as school system decision makers a practical set of strategies covering 10 domains of the school food environment and five core healthy eating design principles.

Watch a video that documents how Buckingham Elementary School in Dillwyn, Va., used the design guidelines to adopt a healthy nutrition curriculum and promote healthy eating.