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

Published on Thursday, December 10, 2020

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

2020 CityHealth ratings show San Antonio is one of ten cities setting the gold standard for smart policymaking

CONTACT: Michelle Vigil 
Office: (210) 207-8172  


San Antonio, TX - (December 10, 2020) - San Antonio is among ten 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 was 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 has worked very close with City leadership to continue to improve the wellbeing of all San Antonio residents throughout this pandemic,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg “We are very proud of all the hard work and efforts that have led our city to be an example to other cities across the nation.”
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.

“America’s cities have shown incredible resilience in the face of the myriad of challenges that 2020 has delivered,” said CityHealth Co-Executive Director Catherine Patterson. “Resilient cities are responding to the moment by adopting policies like Complete Streets and high-quality, accessible pre-K. These policies are proven to strengthen communities for years to come and will help all residents live their healthiest possible lives.”
The 2020 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.

San Antonio's 2020 City Health Medal Results

Policy Recommendation Medal
Overall Gold
Affordable Housing No Medal
Complete Streets Gold
Earned Sick Leave Gold
Food Safety/Restaurant Grading No Medal
Healthy Food Procurement Gold
High Quality, Accessible Pre-Kinder Gold
Safer Alcohol Sales No Medal
Smoke-Free Indoor Air Gold
Tobacco 21 Gold

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 CityHealth website.

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.

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Author: Melanie Morales (GPA)

Categories: City News, Health