May 22, 2018

Chicago Earns Gold Medal for Leadership on Policies that Improve Residents' Quality of Life and Well-Being

Updated CityHealth ratings show Chicago is one of five cities setting the gold standard for smart policymaking

Washington, D.C. – Chicago is among five of the nation’s leading cities when it comes to implementing policies that improve the health and well-being of its residents, according to the CityHealth initiative’s updated city ratings. Chicago will be awarded a gold medal at the U.S. Conference of Mayors 86th Annual Meeting on June 8th in Boston, Massachusetts.

CityHealth, an initiative of the de Beaumont Foundation and Kaiser Permanente, offers a close look at whether the nation’s 40 largest cities have nine key policies in place that experts say help residents lead healthier lives and make communities thrive. For each of these nine policies, CityHealth awarded each city a gold, silver, bronze, or no medal, according to the quality of that policy. The group also awarded an overall medal to each city based on how many policy medals were earned.

“Policy is a powerful lever for change at the city level,” said Shelley Hearne, CityHealth’s president. “By earning a gold medal for smart policymaking, Chicago is demonstrating leadership across nine pragmatic policy areas, which have been proven to help millions of people live longer, better lives.”

“Chicago is proud to win a gold medal for our health policies, and we strive to be the gold standard for cities when it comes to public policy that improves residents’ lives,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “I view this gold medal not just as a recognition of what Chicago has accomplished, but as a challenge to redouble our efforts and ensure our entire city has a clean bill of health today, tomorrow and for generations to come.”  

The report shows which cities are leading the way on policies shown to improve people’s health and quality of life. Chicago earned a gold medal overall, demonstrating that city leaders understand the role of policy as a valuable prescription for public health, and a tool to make cities vibrant, prosperous places to live.

“The health of our residents is affected by the way we design and enact our policies. By ensuring that health is at the forefront of our policy decisions, Chicago is leading the nation in building strong and healthy communities,” said CDPH Commissioner Julie Morita, M.D.

Chicago’s 2018 CityHealth Medal Results

Policy Recommendation

Medal

Overall

Gold

Affordable Housing

Gold

Alcohol Sales Control

Gold

Complete Streets

Gold

Earned Sick Leave

Silver

Food Safety/Restaurant Grading

No Medal

Healthy Food Procurement

Silver

High-Quality, Universal Pre-Kindergarten

Silver

Smoke-Free Indoor Air

Gold

Tobacco 21

Gold

 

CityHealth policies include recommendations on employment benefits, education, affordable housing, active living and transportation, public safety, tobacco control, clean indoor air, food safety and nutrition. Each recommendation is backed by evidence, supported by qualified experts, and has a track record of bipartisan support.

For more details on how Chicago stacks up against the other 40 cities, go to www.cityhealth.org.

The nine CityHealth policies are:

Affordable Housing

Affordable housing promotes diverse, inclusive neighborhoods and positive mental health, reduces crowding and exposure to environmental hazards, and frees up household resources to pay for health care and healthy food.

Alcohol Sales Control

Neighborhoods with high concentrations of alcohol outlets are linked to more drinking and higher rates of violence and driving under the influence. Policies that address a high density of alcohol outlets can reduce crime, increase safety and may reduce spending on health care and criminal justice costs.

Complete Streets

Complete streets policies safely combine all forms of transportation, such as walking, biking, driving or taking the bus. These policies can expand economic growth, improve individuals’ health, and save lives. 

Earned Sick Leave

Earned sick leave policies reduce the spread of contagious illnesses, increase employment and income stability, and can save cities money in health care costs.

Food Safety

Policies that require food establishments to publicly post food safety inspection grades empower consumers, promote transparency, and reduce foodborne illness.

Healthy Food Procurement

Policies that ensure food sold and served in city buildings meets basic nutritional standards provide more residents with affordable and healthy food choices and can reduce some of the high medical costs associated with obesity.

High-Quality, Universal Pre-Kindergarten

Access to high-quality Pre-K benefits children and their communities throughout the course of their entire lives – it raises children’s lifetime wages, high-school graduation rates and years of education completed, reduces crime and teen pregnancy, and improves health outcomes.

Smoke-Free Indoor Air

These policies protect non-smokers from the harmful effects of tobacco – which is the largest preventable cause of death – and they reduce smokers’ consumption of tobacco at the same time.

Tobacco 21

Policies that raise the minimum legal age for the sale of tobacco products to 21 reduce the number of young people using these products, which greatly decreases their risk for addiction and disease.

CityHealth, an initiative of the de Beaumont Foundation and Kaiser Permanente, provides leaders with a package of evidence-based policy solutions that will help millions of people live longer, better lives in vibrant, prosperous communities. CityHealth will regularly evaluate cities on the number and strength of their policies. http://www.cityhealth.org/

The de Beaumont Foundation is dedicated to improving the capacity and performance of the U.S. public health system, and equipping public health agencies to thrive in a transforming health landscape. In so doing, we aspire to improve the health of the populations of the communities they serve across the U.S. http://www.debeaumont.org/

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 12.2 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.

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