Community intervention resources

After learning about the science of the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) for the first time, many communities wonder what they can do to improve their community's health. While this research has progressed over the past two decades, we are just beginning to develop community-based interventions fully utilizing this science as a framework. However, many of the supporting principles of this science have been used to develop programs and policies supporting community health. 

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation developed the What Works for Health menu of evidence-based programs and policies. The Moore Institute used this database to identify interventions appropriate for communities interested in implementing a community-based project utilizing DOHaD concepts. These programs and policies are grouped into categories to offer communities some guidance in moving forward with an intervention that is not only an appropriate fit, but also has evidence to back its effectiveness. More information about the methods the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation used to determine these rankings as well as a wealth of resources available to communities ready to take action to improve their health are available on their website.

Much of the work of the Moore Institute uses the Social Ecological Model of health promotion, which recognizes the dynamic interplay between the individual, family, organization and broader environment in shaping health. We further identified where each of the interventions fits with the model so communities can see how interventions at one level will influence, and be influenced by, work at the other levels. Each intervention is labeled with one or more of the following:

(IND) Individual
(IP) Interpersonal
(ORG) Organizational
(COMM) Community
(POL) Policy


Scientific Evidence
(IND) Breastfeeding promotion programs
(ORG) Nutrition and physical activity interventions in preschool and child care school breakfast programs
(ORG) School nutrition standards
(ORG) Worksite obesity prevention interventions
(COMM) Competitive pricing for healthy foods

Some Supported Scientific Evidence
(ORG) Farm to school programs
(ORG) Fruit and vegetable taste testing
(ORG) Healthy food initiatives in food pantries
(ORG) Healthy school lunch initiatives
(ORG) Point of purchase prompts for healthy foods
(ORG) School food and beverage restrictions
(ORG) School-based nutrition education programs
(ORG) Workplace supports for breastfeeding
(ORG/POL) Water availability and promotion interventions
(COMM) Mobile produce markets
(COMM) New grocery stores in underserved areas

(COMM) Healthy food in convenience stores
(COMM) WIC and senior farmers' market nutrition programs

(POL) Restaurant nutrition labeling
(POL) Sugar sweetened beverage taxes
(POL) Unhealthy snack taxes
(POL) Child-focused advertising restrictions for unhealthy foods and beverages

Expert Opinion
(ORG) School fundraiser restrictions
(COMM) Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
(COMM) Community kitchens for food processing
(COMM) Community weight loss challenges
(COMM) EBT payment at farmers markets
(COMM) Fruit and vegetable gleaning initiatives
(COMM) Food buying clubs and co-ops
(COMM) Nutrition prescriptions
(COMM) Urban agriculture
(POL) Zoning regulations for fast food

Insufficient Evidence
(COMM) Community kitchens for nutrition education

Scientifically Supported
(IND) Breastfeeding promotional programs
(IND/IP) Multi-component interventions: pregnancy and STIs
(IP) Centering pregnancy
(IP) Kinship foster care for children in the child welfare system
(IP) Nurse family partnership - Providing home visiting services to low income, first time mothers and their babies

(ORG) Chicago Parent Child Centers- preschool education
(COMM) Early Head Start (EHS) 
(COMM) Group based parenting programs

Some Evidence
(IND) Father involvement programs
(IP) Healthy Family America (HFA): Home visiting services to families at risk for adverse childhood experiences

(ORG) Workplace supports for breast feeding

Expert Opinion
(IND) Grady Memorial Hospital interpregnancy care program - care and education program for women who delivered a very low birthweight baby
(IND) Magnolia Project Provide prenatal and inter-conception care, family planning, and case management services, and group based education to eligible women via Healthy Start

Insufficient Evidence
(IND) Healthy Births for Healthy Communities
(IND) National Fatherhood Initiative's 24/7 Dad

(ORG) On-site child care

Scientifically Supported

(POL) Child care subsidies
(POL) Earned income tax credit
(POL) Full child support pass-through and disregard- Adopt policies that allow custodial parents who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to collect all child support paid by the non-custodial parent; no portion is retained by the state
(POL) Paid family leave
(POL) Paid sick leave laws

Some Evidence

(POL) Inclusionary zoning
(POL) Living Wage Laws

(POL) Low income housing tax credits (LIHTCs)

Expert Opinion

(POL) Affordable housing tax increment financing (TIF)
(POL) Child tax credit expansion
(POL) Refundable child and dependent care tax credit

Insufficient Evidence

(COMM) Grocery, housing and utility cooperatives