News: Local

Posted on Aug 28, 2013

Spotlight on Rancho Cucamonga, California

Located in Southern California, the City of Rancho Cucamonga is nestled in the base of the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, along historic Route 66. Rancho Cucamonga has approximately 169,498 residents and spans over 40.2 square miles.

In 2008, in response to alarming health statistics and environmental conditions, Rancho Cucamonga’s City Council established Healthy RC — a community-led effort committed to long-term community health improvement through the development of programs, policies and partnerships that facilitate opportunities for healthy living.  What sets Rancho Cucamonga’s healthy cities program apart is its comprehensive, integrated approach and its broad definition of health.  Rancho Cucamonga is one of the few communities statewide to incorporate health and sustainability as an overarching theme throughout its General Plan.  The City has also adopted and implemented a Health-in-All-Policies framework in all policy-related decisions the city makes, establishing a permanent link for a dialogue on health within city departments.

Healthy RC’s mission is to “inspire a lifestyle that embraces a Healthy Mind, Body, and Earth, through lifelong learning and enrichment, active and healthy living, and environmental sustainability.”  A diverse, multi-departmental team, led by the City Manager’s Office and comprised of department heads and managers from all major departments, leads Healthy RC. The City is engaging local residents and over 50 community stakeholders. Using a Community-Based Participatory Approach as its foundation, partners are not only informed of specific strategies, but they also play an active role in developing, implementing, and designing approaches that best fit community needs. The City has addressed local equity issues by developing opportunities to meaningfully engage local residents and youth in helping to transform the way it prioritizes projects. Youth and community residents help drive the focus of the City to address policies, programs, and services that have the greatest impact on local neighborhoods.

The City of Rancho Cucamonga, which is ranked #2 among the over 340 communities participating in LMCTC, has gone particularly above and beyond on LMCTC Goals IV and V.

Gold in LMCTC Goal IV: Model Food Service

To improve access to healthy, affordable foods, the City adopted a comprehensive Healthy Food and Beverage Policy, requiring implementation of nutrition standards at all City facilities. These standards affect all City-owned and operated vending machines and any food provided by the City. For vending machines, the standards require 50% of snacks sold follow California State guidelines for healthier snacks and drinks and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The City also developed a toolkit for partner organizations to adopt complementary policies. Four organizations have passed complementary policies, creating consistent messages throughout the community and multiplying the benefits of the City’s efforts.

Additionally, the City works with local restaurants to increase access to healthier foods when dining out. The Healthy RC Dining Program collaborates with San Antonio Community Hospital’s Registered Dietitians to review participating restaurants’ menus and help develop and design healthier meal options for children and adults.  Since October 2012, 11 restaurants have joined the program, and it continues to expand.

Gold in LMCTC Goal V: Active Kids at Play

Rancho Cucamonga has implemented a variety of strategies and programs to increase opportunities for play.  The City has 30 parks covering 300 acres located throughout the community.  This commitment to increase opportunities for play has earned the City recognition as a KaBOOM! Playful City USA community 3 consecutive years in a row.

The City has also conducted community forums and focus groups, engaging the community in identifying challenges to play and developing strategies to mitigate those barriers.  Through this community process, the City mapped all play spaces and opportunities for safe physical activity and identified gaps and areas with less access.  As a result, Rancho Cucamonga developed “Healthy RC Kids Fun on the Run Mobile Recreation” program that brings physical activity programming to neighborhoods and schools that lack the access and resources to engage in safe, fun physical activity.  The City integrated all play spaces, parks, and facilities into its mobile application for Android and Apple phone users.

The City has also recently adopted a comprehensive Complete Streets Policy (ranked top 10 in the nation by the National Complete Streets Coalition in 2012) to promote multi-modal transportation opportunities and community design standards that facilitate active living for all community residents. In addition, the City coordinates Safe Routes to School Programs in 13 schools throughout the community to encourage lifelong and daily healthy behaviors for children and families and to reduce pedestrian-vehicle collisions.

To learn more about the City of Rancho Cucamonga or Healthy RC, please visit www.HealthyRC.info, call (909) 477-2700 ext. 2011 or email HealthyRC@CityofRC.us.