Building Healthy Communities will invest in neighborhoods to nurture healthy New Yorkers.

Increasing opportunities for physical activity

CPI Announcement
Photo by NYC Parks

Lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating are major contributors to obesity and chronic diseases. More than 50 percent of New York City adults are overweight or obese, and 1 in 5 kindergarten students is obese.1

In partnership with residents, Building Healthy Communities will install adult exercise equipment, create pedestrian plazas, provide free exercise classes, and establish paths that encourage walking, running and biking.

Increasing access to nutritious and affordable food

Green Thumb Harvest Fair
Photo by NYC Parks

In some high-poverty neighborhoods, only 1 in 10 residents eat the nationally recommended number of servings of fruits and vegetables daily – half the rate of the highest-income neighborhoods.2

Building Healthy Communities will bring together a wide range of partners to build food-producing urban farms, establish farmers markets, support and build community and school gardens to increase access to affordable fresh food.

Promoting safe public spaces

Building Healthy Communities Public Spaces
Photo by NYC Parks

Children of parents who report anxiety about neighborhood safety get less exercise. Studies have shown that adolescent girls living near high-crime areas participate in less outdoor physical activity.3

Building Healthy Communities will redesign public spaces with public safety in mind, including installing lighting and cameras and extending hours of community centers.



  1. “Obesity.” NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Web. 21 Oct. 2015

  2. “2013 Community Health Survey.” NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Web. 13 Nov 2015.

  3. Weir LA, Etelson D, Brand DA. Parents' perceptions of neighborhood safety and children's physical activity. Prev Med.2006;43 (3):212– 217
    Heitzler C, Martin SL, Duke J, Huhman M. Correlates of physical activity in a national sample of children aged 9–13 years. Prev Med.2006;42 (4):254– 260

    Molnar B, Gortmaker S, Bull F, Buka S. Unsafe to play? Neighborhood disorder and lack of safety predict reduced physical activity among urban children and adolescents. Am J Health Promot.2004;18 (5):378– 386

    Gómez J, Johnson BA, Selva M, Sallis JF. Violent crime and outdoor physical activity among inner-city youth. Prev Med.2004;39(5):876– 881