Abstract: Healthy communities are communities in which people have the physical and mental health and wellbeing needed to conduct their daily lives. The purpose of this paper is to review the available evidence of a range of sports and recreation programs in relation to their effects on supporting and building healthy communities. This paper is based on the synthesis of findings from over 30 studies, covering all geographic areas from inner city to remote regions, and age groups ranging from primary school to young adult. The studies were identified through searches, using Google Scholar, as well as a range of academic databases such as Australian Public Affairs Information Service, ProQuest Social Science journals, and SocIndex. Studies were then selected for analysis and synthesis, based on quality and relevance to the topic. The Australian studies used account for approximately two-thirds of the research, with some international studies included to add depth. More than half the studies looked at programs run in Indigenous communities in Australia and Indigenous communities in the United States, Canada and New Zealand, with additional evidence from other ethnic minority (that is, immigrant) and ethnic majority contexts. The research synthesised in this paper uses a range of research methods to develop this research evidence, predominantly descriptions and critical assessments of programs, as well as evaluations and systematic literature reviews. These programs are often conceptualised as providing ‘a site for self discipline and character building’ (Hartmann 2003). This site or situation allows skills such as cooperation and conflict resolution; communication; problem solving; delayed gratification and self-discipline to develop. The development of these skills can, in turn, lead to a change in self-concept and self-esteem. In the case of crime prevention programs, these programs are thought to support the growth of protective factors that prevent engagement in antisocial behaviours (Nichols 2007).