Thesis

Health in general plans an evaluation of San Joaquin Valley general plans

The rise of chronic health conditions in the San Joaquin Valley has increased the focus on general plans as a tool to improve public health. General plans are the blueprints for cities and counties as they guide the development of the physical environment. My thesis evaluates the incorporation of public health goals into the general plans of the cities and counties in the San Joaquin Valley. 
 I used a case study selection method and evaluation framework relying on the American Planning Association (APA) Healthy Planning Report (2012) and the How to Create and Implement Healthy General Plans Toolkit (2012). Because of my case study selection method results, I surveyed the general plans of two counties and seven cities in the San Joaquin Valley. I created a set of evaluation questions for seven health topic categories and scored each general plan on its inclusion of health goals or policies. 
 I found that general plans in the San Joaquin Valley contain health topics that affect the physical environment. I also discovered that cities and counties include these topics throughout their general plans. Local general plans in the San Joaquin Valley largely concentrate on planning for physical activity and transportation. They do not include planning for nutrition opportunities as often as they discuss physical development. However, the inclusion of health-related topics may increase as studies connecting planning and health continue to link health outcomes with the built environment. My evaluation found that small cities are planning for health within their fiscal capacity and community needs.

Thesis (M.P.P.A., Public Policy and Administration)--California State University, Sacramento, 2013.

The rise of chronic health conditions in the San Joaquin Valley has increased the focus on general plans as a tool to improve public health. General plans are the blueprints for cities and counties as they guide the development of the physical environment. My thesis evaluates the incorporation of public health goals into the general plans of the cities and counties in the San Joaquin Valley. I used a case study selection method and evaluation framework relying on the American Planning Association (APA) Healthy Planning Report (2012) and the How to Create and Implement Healthy General Plans Toolkit (2012). Because of my case study selection method results, I surveyed the general plans of two counties and seven cities in the San Joaquin Valley. I created a set of evaluation questions for seven health topic categories and scored each general plan on its inclusion of health goals or policies. I found that general plans in the San Joaquin Valley contain health topics that affect the physical environment. I also discovered that cities and counties include these topics throughout their general plans. Local general plans in the San Joaquin Valley largely concentrate on planning for physical activity and transportation. They do not include planning for nutrition opportunities as often as they discuss physical development. However, the inclusion of health-related topics may increase as studies connecting planning and health continue to link health outcomes with the built environment. My evaluation found that small cities are planning for health within their fiscal capacity and community needs.

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