Health and Environment

Outcome Statement

Fairfax County is a place where all people can attain their highest level of health and well-being within a healthy sustainable environment.




About the Sections

Each priority area includes the following:

  • Outcome Statement: The aspirational future state for Fairfax County.
  • Introduction/Summary: Context about the priority area.
  • Challenge Questions: Describe the problem/opportunity people are experiencing informed by evidence, data, subject expertise, outside perspectives and realities.
  • Indicators: Ways to measure progress, both for the community at large and for county government. They are clear, quantifiable and they help manage progress.
  • Metrics: Specific data points to track whether Fairfax County is making progress.
  • Strategies: Actions that need to be taken to address identified challenges that “move the needle” on indicators and metrics.


The well-being of residents is inextricably linked to the environment in which people live and the access to affordable healthcare and healthy living opportunities. As the impacts of COVID-19 become clear, existing disparities in health outcomes have been highlighted and exacerbated, especially for people of color who are at a higher risk of COVID-19 due to a multitude of related issues. These include a greater likelihood of underlying health conditions that make some residents more prone to contracting the virus, higher rates of employment in public-facing service jobs, and residing in high-density, multifamily living units which contribute to the spread of communicable diseases.

The strategies in this section advance equitable health outcomes by examining what specific changes in the social determinants of health, the built community, and healthy living resources can be made to improve health and wellness for all, especially those who are considered most vulnerable. The strategies also seek to protect, conserve and sustain environmental resources to promote clean air, water and soil. Improving the resilience of natural resources and community infrastructure is an important strategy to confront the challenges of climate change. Finally, the strategies also stress the importance of sustainable choices and behaviors, and the role of education and access to support this effort.

Challenge Questions

1. How will we proactively create the community conditions that ensure equitable opportunities for all to attain their highest level of health and well-being?

2. How will we remove barriers and ensure equitable access to and utilization of needed health resources and services (physical, oral, mental, developmental and substance use) across our community?

3. How will we promote behaviors that contribute to positive health outcomes and make healthy options more readily available, especially in communities facing the greatest health inequities?

4. How will we maintain and improve the quality of our air, water and land for the protection of our environment and our residents, and foster a thriving biodiversity as our population grows, changes and densifies?

5. How will we engage with our residents and businesses, while holding ourselves accountable to adopt conservation practices that address climate change and foster environmental sustainability?


1. Access to Health-Promoting Services and Infrastructure

2. Physical and Behavioral Health Conditions

3. Health-Related Behaviors

4. Air, Water and Land Quality

5. Environmental Policies and Practices


Indicator: Access to Health-Promoting Services and Infrastructure


• # of health service providers per 10,000 residents

• % of residents who have seen a primary care provider within the last 12 months

• Rate of preventable hospital stays

• % of residents experiencing food insecurity

• % of households living in neighborhoods with walkability scores and bikeability scores above 50 out of 100


Indicator: Physical and Behavioral Health Conditions


• % of residents who are overweight or obese

• Hospitalization rate due to asthma

• % of residents who report having a chronic physical or behavioral health condition

• % of residents reporting depressive symptoms

• % of residents who have seriously considered or attempted suicide

• # of emergency department visits for opioid-related overdose

• Variance in rates of premature deaths in different populations


Indicator: Health-Related Behaviors


• % of residents engaging in physical activity

• % of residents eating fruits and vegetables

• % of residents who use tobacco products

• % of residents who use alcohol or drugs


Indicator: Air, Water and Land Quality


• # of unhealthy air quality days annually

• # of heat advisory days annually

• % of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Chesapeake Bay pollution reduction target met

• # of linear feet of streams rehabilitated

• # of negative occurrences (back-ups and overflows) per 100 miles of water/wastewater/sewer service

• # of homes reporting flooding following a storm event

• % of county covered by tree canopy

• % of trees that are less than 6 inches in diameter


Indicator: Environmental Policies and Practices


• # of kilowatt hours of energy consumed in county buildings and facilities

• % of energy used in county facilities that comes from renewable sources

• % of square feet of county building space that is in a facility that meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or similar energy efficiency standard

• % of square miles of Fairfax County that are impervious surface (e.g., roofs, paved surfaces)

• # of tons of waste material that is diverted through reuse, repurposing or recycling

• % of employees who work compressed schedules or telework at least 20% of their work week

• % of vehicles registered to Fairfax County households that are electric-powered


Support Healthy Communities

  • HE 1. Integrate considerations of health, well-being and equity into the development, implementation and evaluation of land use, transportation and housing policies and ordinances.
  • HE 2. Create walkable, bikeable, transit-oriented, dense, mixed-use and connected places that make inviting and vibrant communities with opportunities for recreation and active living for individuals of all ages and abilities.
  • HE 3. Create healthier environments on county properties through policies such as the expansion of tobacco-free zones and healthy vending options.
  • HE 4. Promote healthy eating by implementing policies and initiatives that increase access to fresh, affordable and nutritious food options especially in the geographic areas of the county with the highest rates of food insecurity.
  • HE 5. Use enhanced data analysis and population-level data from COVID-19 to better quantify and monitor differences in health outcomes among groups of people to inform the work to close the gap on health inequities.
  • HE 6. Foster individual and family resiliency to withstand, adapt to and recover from chronic stress and adverse experiences through early intervention, prevention and trauma-informed care.

Expand Access to Health Services and Information

  • HE 7. Identify barriers to accessing health services for residents in need and align county and community resources to address the underlying factors contributing to underutilization, and to eliminate gaps in services.
  • HE 8. Integrate the delivery of health services (physical, mental, oral and substance use) for those in need through co-locating services and redesigning care providers’ practices and business processes.
  • HE 9. Attract health service providers to underserved geographic areas by incentivizing the provision of care that is culturally and linguistically appropriate, accessible, high quality and affordable.
  • HE 10. Address substance use through coordinated education efforts for prevention, expanded treatment options and harm reduction actions in collaboration with community partners.
  • HE 11. Implement a comprehensive, coordinated, evidence-based healthy living campaign that is tailored to reach, inform, educate and motivate people to increase health-promoting behavior across all communities.
  • HE 12. Expand our capacity to effectively reach and engage residents in the design and implementation of health promotion initiatives through strategic partnerships and collaborations.
  • HE 13. Explore innovative financing mechanisms to bolster the flexibility, scalability and sustainability of community health and wellness initiatives.

Promote and Ensure Environmental Sustainability

  • HE 14. Reduce the county's contribution to greenhouse gases through better coordination of energy and climate best management practices throughout all county agencies, including items such as environmental stewardship and biodiversity of landscaping at county facilities, vehicle selections, building design, utilities and energy consumption.
  • HE 15. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and vehicle miles traveled by incentivizing walkable, bikeable and transit-oriented development patterns, adding more mass transit and on-demand travel options, and discouraging single occupancy automobile use.
  • HE 16. Improve water quality and meet Chesapeake Bay clean water requirements through upgrading stormwater management facilities. Incorporate recreational facilities such as trails into stream restoration projects to better connect residents with the environment.
  • HE 17. Improve the health of county waterways through maintaining effective stormwater controls and regulating development to protect environmentally sensitive areas to lessen adverse community impacts.
  • HE 18. Prioritize stormwater and wastewater infrastructure and capacity reinvestment decisions to support development and redevelopment of more dense communities.
  • HE 19. Reduce waste volumes through maximizing reuse/recycling, enhancing composting, phasing out single use plastics and packaging items and clarifying guidance to the community in the face of evolving practices.
  • HE 20. Promote county policies, practices and regulatory programs to protect, conserve, establish and rehabilitate natural resources (e.g., tree cover, open green spaces, parkland) that provide ecological and health benefits.
  • HE 21. Promote the use of solar and other green building technology through incentives and resources to encourage homeowners and commercial building owners to maximize energy efficiency.
  • HE 22. Develop a climate action plan to improve community health and resilience, and to prepare for anticipated changes in weather patterns, rainfall intensities, residential and river flooding, and tidal impacts. Improve community resilience through better planning, mitigation and response to increasing severity of weather events.

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