Find Interventions that Work Glossary

Action Areas

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Community Health Improvement (CHI) Navigator groups interventions according to their influence on the modifiable factors that impact health, falling into the following four categories:

  • Socioeconomic Factors: Interventions that address social determinants of health, such as income, education, occupation, class, or social support. Social determinants of health are conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age. These determinants contribute to a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes.
  • Physical Environment: Interventions addressing structural and environmental conditions that have an impact on health, including the built environment , as well as the community environment. This category includes policy changes that support individuals in making healthy choices.
  • Health Behaviors: Interventions that promote and reinforce positive individual health behaviors, and seek to enable people to increase control over their health and its determinants. They include actions that address the knowledge, barriers, and facilitators that can affect behavior.
  • Clinical Care: Innovative interventions focused on clinical approaches to health improvement that go beyond traditional one-on-one patient care. These activities are upstream or systems-based, and include examples of clinical providers working in teams or providing direct care in a non-traditional setting.

Target Risk Factors

Conditions, behaviors, or exposures that increase the risk of disease, injury, or disability in an individual. Interventions within the CHI Navigator are tagged with a specific risk factor if the intervention specifically targeted the risk factor(s) or when the risk factor was used to measure the success of the intervention. For example, if an intervention sought to increase physical activity, and the measure of success is decreased body mass index (BMI), the intervention is tagged with the risk factors physical inactivity (direct) and obesity (indirect).

  • Tobacco Use and Exposure: Intervention seeks to reduce or to prevent tobacco use or secondhand smoke exposure.
  • Physical Inactivity: Intervention seeks to increase physical activity (including interventions that reduce screen time and sedentary activities).
  • Unhealthy Diet: Intervention seeks to improve diet.
  • High Cholesterol: Intervention seeks to prevent or to improve management of high cholesterol.
  • High Blood Pressure: Intervention seeks to prevent or to improve management of high blood pressure.
  • Diabetes: Intervention seeks to prevent the development of, or to improve management of, type 2 diabetes.
  • Obesity: Intervention seeks to reduce or to prevent obesity.

Target Populations

Groups explicitly addressed by the intervention, or the group upon which study conclusions are based.

  • Racial/Ethnic Minorities: Intervention addresses certain racial and ethnic minority populations.
  • Low Income: Intervention addresses low-income populations.
  • Children/Adolescents: Intervention addresses children or adolescents.
  • Families: Intervention addresses families or includes parents/guardians as part of a child-focused intervention.
  • Adults: Intervention addresses adults.
  • Older Adults: Intervention addresses older adults, defined by the use of any of the following key words: elderly, retired, senior citizens, seniors, and 65 years or older.
  • Men: Intervention addresses men.
  • Women: Intervention addresses women.
  • Urban: Intervention addresses the urban and/or suburban population.
  • Rural: Intervention addresses rural populations, defined by the use of any of the following key words: rural, remote, farms, and farming community.

Target Outcomes or Indicators

The health outcome the intervention aims to improve. This includes health system indicators, biometric indicators, behaviors, knowledge, and awareness.

  • Tobacco Use and Exposure: Measures that describe the amount, type, and duration of tobacco use; availability and use of tobacco and tobacco cessation services; and exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Physical Activity: Measure of the amount (duration and frequency), type, and intensity of physical activity and interventions that measured health outcomes of physical-activity interventions (such as body mass index (BMI)).
  • Healthy Food/Beverage Intake: Measures that describe the amount or nutritional value of foods or beverages consumed; knowledge, attitudes and behaviors related to food and beverages; and access to food and beverages.
  • Cholesterol/ Lipid Level: Measures that describe the amount of fats (lipids) in the blood, specifically total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and triglycerides.
  • Blood Pressure: Measures that describe the force and rate of the heartbeat and diagnose levels of high blood pressure.
  • Hemoglobin A1c/Glycemic Control: Measures of blood-sugar levels in a person with or at risk for type 2 diabetes either a) at a single point in time (via blood glucose test or glucose tolerance test) or b) averaged over approximately 3 months (hemoglobin A1c test); or measures of diabetes-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors.
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)/Weight: Measures total body weight, BMI (an indicator of body fat based on height and weight that applies to both women and men), or other indicators of body fat, such as waist circumference.
  • Health Care Costs: Measures that evaluate financial impact of interventions such as a) decreased unnecessary healthcare utilization, b) return on investment, and/or c) savings to patients, payors, or providers.
  • Mortality: The number of deaths in a given area or period, or from a particular cause.
  • Treatment Adherence: Measures that describe the extent to which a person’s behavior—taking medication, following a diet, and/or executing lifestyle changes – corresponds with recommendations from a health care provider. (Source: Essential Medicines and Health Products Information Portal.)

Intervention Settings/Locations

The designated setting or location in which the intervention occurs.

  • Business/Work Site: Intervention takes place in businesses or at work sites.
  • School: Intervention takes place in schools (excluding child care and day care facilities).
  • Child Care Facility: Intervention takes place in pre-K or child care facilities (excluding schools).
  • Faith-Based Setting: Intervention takes place in faith-based organization setting or is run by a faith-based organization.
  • Community: Intervention takes place in a community setting (excluding health care facilities, schools, businesses, or faith-based settings).
  • Pharmacy: Intervention takes place in a pharmacy or is provided by a pharmacist.
  • Clinic: Intervention takes place in an outpatient medical clinic.
  • Hospital: Intervention takes place in an inpatient hospital facility or emergency department.
  • Telehealth: Intervention takes place in a virtual setting through the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies.

Intervention Types

Specific type of intervention or the method of implementation.

  • Access to Care: Intervention improves access to health services via healthcare, public health, or other delivery systems.
  • Screening: Intervention identifies the health status or behaviors of people to identify risk factors for or the development of a developmental delay, disease or condition.
  • Disease Management: Intervention provides education and support to individuals—to manage or control the course of a specified condition—and includes interventions that address treatment adherence.
  • Counseling: Intervention provides professional guidance in modifying behaviors to reverse identified disease, disease risk, or risky behaviors. Counseling can be provided one-on-one or in a group setting.
  • Education: Intervention helps individuals and communities improve their health or their socioeconomic status by increasing their knowledge, providing them with skills, and/or influencing their attitudes.
  • Program: Intervention provides a coordinated and comprehensive health promotion or protection strategy to improve health.
  • Point-of-Decision Prompt: Intervention provides prompts at decision points to guide individuals toward healthier choices (e.g., signs near elevators encouraging stair use).
  • Financial Incentive/Offset Costs: Intervention offers monetary motivation to encourage health-related behaviors and can include coupons, gift cards, free memberships, and/or travel reimbursement. Examples include smoking-cessation product coupons, gym memberships, gift cards for participating in healthy behavior counseling, etc.
  • Healthy Food/Beverage Provision: Intervention increases access to and education about healthier food and beverage options or reduces access to unhealthy food and beverage options.
  • Campaigns: Intervention provides a strategic and organized series of activities to influence health behavior.
  • Media/Marketing: Intervention uses marketing principles and/or media, including social media, to influence individual behavior or attitudes. (Source: What is Health Communications.)
  • Changing Physical Environment: Intervention modifies the physical environment to promote health and influence health behavior. Examples include refurbishing or creating local parks and planting gardens.
  • Policy: Intervention uses changes to laws, regulations, procedures, administrative actions, incentives, and/or voluntary practices of governments and other institutions to improve health-related behaviors. Examples include offering tax credits for bike path construction, and changing school food policies so that they limit availability of or eliminate transfats or foods high in salt.

Assets: People or Organizations

People or organizations essential to supporting, planning, or implementing an intervention.

  • Residents/Community Health Workers: People residing in a community and frontline public health workers with a strong understanding of the community they serve. (Source: Community Health Workers .)
  • Hospitals/Clinicians/Healthcare Workers: Institutions qualified in the clinical practice of medicine or licensed professionals (e.g., in the fields of medicine, psychiatry, pharmacology, or psychology) providing care in a clinical setting (excluding community health workers).
  • Payors/Insurers: Organizations that provide financial coverage of, or reimbursement for, health care services.
  • Health Department/Public Health Officials: Federal, state, tribal, or local governmental public health departments or staffers.
  • Policymakers/Local Council Members: People or organizations responsible for defining and enforcing local government policies (i.e., city council members, local school boards, elected officials).
  • Local Businesses/Nonprofit Organizations: Local organizations and businesses that may or may not seek to make a profit.
  • Voluntary Associations: Associations or organizations that are volunteer driven, are not-for-profit or have tax-exempt status (e.g., Rotary clubs, health coalitions and regional collaboratives).
  • Researchers/Evaluators: Individuals, institutions, or organizations that engage in research and/or evaluation.

Assets: Physical or Virtual Space

Locations—real or virtual—key to the implementation of the intervention.

  • Local Institutions: Businesses, schools, or other organizations that provide physical or virtual space.
  • Parks/Community Common Space: An area of land set aside for public use (private land and spaces were excluded), or indoor space made available for public use.
  • Website/Community Listserv: Virtual space made available for public use, used as an information source or communication tool.
  • Media: Radio/TV/Print: Traditional means of mass communication, excluding virtual or internet communication.
  • Transportation: Public or private means of transportation, or transportation supports (e.g., bus routes, bike paths, and direct transportation).
  • Housing Development/Urban Planning: The design of housing, land, or transportation to promote healthy behaviors and lifestyles.