Nonprofit organizations have the potential to influence public health by filling voids not filled by government or private organizations. Here we investigate whether the presence of health-related nonprofit organizations at the local community level helps to improve community-level obesity. This study used a time-series design using a random effects model to determine whether the entrance or exits of health nonprofits at the county level was associated with lower obesity rates in the US one and two years following the entrance or departures of nonprofits. The effect was small but significant in urban areas, with a smaller effect in rural areas. Our findings suggest that the presence of health nonprofits is associated with positive health outcomes, in this case obesity. The plausibility may be explained through the increased role nonprofits play in fostering social capital and increased promotion of health-related issues.
- community health
- health policy