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San Antonio Earns New Gold Medal for Passing Policies that Improve Residents’ Health and Quality of Life

Communications and Public Affairs: 207-7234
Published on Monday, November 18, 2019

San Antonio Earns New Gold Medal for Passing Policies that Improve Residents’ Health and Quality of Life

CONTACT: Michelle Vigil, (210) 207-8172



SAN ANTONIO (November 15, 2019) - San Antonio is among eight of the nation’s highest performing cities when it comes to passing policies that improve the health and well-being of its residents, according to CityHealth’s updated city ratings. San Antonio is awarded a gold medal in the newest national report on urban policymaking by CityHealth, an initiative of the de Beaumont Foundation and Kaiser Permanente.

“This year Metro Health worked with City leadership to implement the Healthy Food Procurement Administrative Directive,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg “We are very proud of all the hard work and efforts that have led us to be an example to other cities across the nation. We will continue to advocate for the implementation of other evidence-based policy solutions that have the potential to help people in our community live longer, healthier more vibrant lives.”

The research takes 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.

“Everyone should have the right to live in an environment where they have the best opportunity for a healthy, thriving life,” said Shelley Hearne, DrPH, CityHealth’s president. “By earning a gold medal for smart policymaking, it shows that San Antonio leaders have rolled up their sleeves and worked with the community to adopt a set of proven policies that will improve the health and wellbeing of residents. We hope even more cities follow San Antonio’s lead.”

The report shows which cities are leading the way on policies shown to improve people’s health and quality of life. San Antonio 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. For more details on how San Antonio performed in each policy area, please see the table below.

CityHealth policies include recommendations on employment benefits, education, affordable housing, active living and transportation, public safety, tobacco control, 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 San Antonio stacks up against the other 40 cities, visit

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 lowers housing costs so that people can afford health care coverage and healthy food.

Safer Alcohol Sales
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, Accessible 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.

Categories: City News, Health