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Empowered People

Although policies and programs can make healthy options available, people still have the responsibility to make healthy choices. People are empowered when they have the knowledge, ability, resources, and motivation to identify and make healthy choices. When people are empowered, they are able to take an active role in improving their health, support their families and friends in making healthy choices, and lead community change.

Download and print these recommendations: Empowered People (PDF – 225 KB)


  1. Provide people with tools and information to make healthy choices.
  2. Promote positive social interactions and support healthy decision making.
  3. Engage and empower people and communities to plan and implement prevention policies and programs.
  4. Improve education and employment opportunities.

What Can State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Governments Do? 

  • Create healthy environments that support people’s ability to make healthy choices (e.g., smoke-free buildings, attractive stairwells, cafeterias with healthy options).
  • Offer accurate, accessible, and actionable health information in diverse settings and programs.

What Can Businesses and Employers Do? 

  • Implement work-site health initiatives in combination with illness and injury prevention policies and programs that empower employees to act on health and safety concerns.
  • Use media (e.g., television, Internet, social networking) to promote health.

What Can Health Care Systems, Insurers, and Clinicians Do? 

  • Use proven methods of checking and confirming patient understanding of health promotion and disease prevention (e.g., teach-back method).
  • Involve consumers in planning, developing, implementing, disseminating, and evaluating health and safety information.
  • Use alternative communication methods and tools (e.g., mobile phone applications, personal health records, credible health websites) to support more traditional written and oral communication.
  • Refer patients to adult education and English-language instruction programs to help enhance understanding of health promotion and disease prevention messages.

What Can Early Learning Centers, Schools, Colleges, and Universities Do? 

  • Provide input, guidance, and technical assistance to state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments in assessing health impacts and conducting comprehensive health improvement planning.
  • Incorporate health education into coursework (e.g., by embedding health-related tasks, skills, and examples into lesson plans).

What Can Community, Non-Profit, and Faith-Based Organizations Do? 

  • Empower individuals and their families to develop and participate in health protection and health promotion programs through neighborhood associations, labor unions, volunteer/service projects, or community coalitions.
  • Identify and help connect people to key resources (e.g., for health care, education, and safe playgrounds).
  • Support and expand continuing and adult education programs (e.g., English language instruction, computer skills, health literacy training).

What Can Individuals and Families Do? 

  • Actively participate in personal as well as community prevention efforts.
  • Participate in developing health information and provide feedback regarding the types of health information that are most useful and effective.
  • Provide clinicians with relevant information (e.g., health history, symptoms, medications, allergies), ask questions and take notes during appointments, learn more about their diagnosis or condition, and follow up with recommended appointments.