Newly released: Recommendations from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America. Time to Act: Investing in the Health of Our Children and Communities calls for action on early childhood, healthy communities, and bridging health and health care. Read the report and explore the charts, infographics, and videos at


Poor-quality housing poses a risk of exposure to many conditions that can contribute to poor health, such as indoor allergens that can lead to and exacerbate asthma (the leading chronic disease among children), injuries, and exposure to lead and other toxic substances. Lead poisoning in children leads to irreversible damage that can limit intelligence and reading ability. Most Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors, about half of that spent at home; children, especially young children, spend even more time at home.


  • Fact Sheet: Improving the Health of All Americans through Safe and Healthy Housing

    Poor quality and inadequate housing contributes to health problems such as infectious and chronic diseases, injuries and inadequate childhood development.


  • Beyond Health Care: New Directions to a Healthier America

    This Commission report, Beyond Health Care: New Directions to a Healthier America, describes the Commission's work and provides recommendations for moving forward to ensure all Americans have an opportunity to lead healthier lives.

    See the Report

  • Across America, Differences in How Long and How Well We Live

    Where we live, work, learn and play dramatically affects our health—for better or for worse. Across America and within every state, there are differences in how long and how well we live. This map and accompanying chart show the highest and lowest life expectancy rates (based on county-level data) found in each state and the District of Columbia.

  • Philadelphia: Where You Live Matters

    Where we live dramatically affects our health—for better or for worse. Community attributes—including the availability of safe and healthy housing, access to nutritious food and safe places to exercise—can have a direct impact on our opportunity to lead long and healthy lives.

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  • Stories

    Norma Morales

    Sometimes all it takes is one good thing, leading to another, to get on the path to healthier living. At least, that’s how Norma Morales sees it. Meet Norma Morales


    James Moon

    Staying healthy by eating right and getting exercise has a lot to do with individual choices. But communities can help—or hinder, says James Moon, an Arlington County, Va., resident. Meet James Moon


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  • Leadership Blog

    A Closing Word from Risa Lavizzo-Mourey on the Commission to Build a Healthier America

    by Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
    December 17, 2009

    After a year and a half, two major reports and national events, three regional field hearings, nine issue briefs, two chart books, and more than 50 meetings with leaders from government and the private sector, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America has come to a close. Read More

    Guest Post: Toward the Healthy City

    by Jason Corburn, Associate Professor, Department of City and Regional Planning, University of California, Berkeley
    November 18, 2009

    What makes a city healthy and how would we know when a city is healthy? This question has challenged planners, public health officials and urban residents from Mesopotamia to modern American cities. Read More

    Addressing Your Questions from the Healthy Communities Webinar

    by Staff, Commission to Build a Healthier America
    August 26, 2009

    As with the first webinar, the Commission's August 4 webinar, "Creating Healthy Communities," generated more questions from participants than we could answer during the Q&A. The questions are compiled and answered by Commission staff in the post below. Read More

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News and Events

  • U.S. News & World Report: Planning a Move? Look for These 4 Features That Make a Healthy Neighborhood

    October 29, 2009

    Walkability, bike paths, and other qualities may cut odds of developing type 2 diabetes and obesity. Read More

  • Prevention Matters Podcast: David Williams Discusses How Commission Recommendations Can Improve America's Health

    August 03, 2009

    What makes Americans sick, and how can we keep them healthy? The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation established a panel of distinguished experts - the Commission to Build a Healthier America - to explore these fundamental but complex questions. Dr. David R. Williams, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, discusses the commission's findings and how they impact every segment of society. Read More

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