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Let's Discuss: Step It Up: Moving from Intention to Intervention

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Last fall, Surgeon General Murthy issued Step It Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities to call on Americans to be more physically active through walking and calls on the nation to better support walking and walkability.

Today's R2R cyberseminar gave a glimpse into the policies, systems and environmental changes necessary to fully implement Step it Up! as well as the key partnerships that make such work viable.

We would like to take this opportunity to follow up the discussion from today and learn more about your interventions, successes and innovative partnerships.


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I was intrigued this mornning

I was intrigued this mornning to read a report from Active Living Research titled Moving Toward Active Transportation: How Policies Can Encourage Walking and Bicycling. It made for an interesting follow up to last week's cyber-seminar and reinforced many of the points Kelly and Jackie made.  Perhaps it will be of use to you in your efforts to implement active living communities and the Surgeon General's CTA.
 
The research review summarizes current research on the health benefits and safety of active travel, and examines policies and programs that can help to increase walking and biking rates.  Of particular note to cyber-seminar attendees, the research review shows that:
  • The health benefits of physical activity in general have been well-documented by hundreds of studies. More recently, a growing number of studies have confirmed that these benefits are linked to walking and cycling specifically.
  • The health benefits of active transportation exceed its risks of injury and exposure to air pollution.
  • Safety is a key consideration for promoting active travel. Importantly, places with higher levels of walking and cycling also have greater safety for pedestrians.
  • Provision of convenient, safe, and connected walking and cycling infrastructure is at the core of promoting active travel.
  • Aside from specific infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians, the way neighborhoods and communities are built affects levels of active travel.
  • Walking or biking for daily travel needs can be promoted as a convenient and competitive option through programs that shift travel behavior.
  • Policies that improve public transport, or make car use less attractive, increase the competitiveness of active travel modes.
  • Policies to promote active travel will work best when implemented in comprehensive packages; these may include infrastructure and facility improvements, pricing policies, and education programs to achieve substantial shifts towards active modes.

Today, the National Physical

Today, the National Physical Activity Society releases the 2nd edition of Stories from Small Towns, which highlights eight U.S. towns that have made changes so people can walk and bike more freely. The stories demonstrate that structural changes to make walking easier can be carried out in America’s thousands of small towns and not just its big cities. The project aims to inspire town leaders across the country to see such infrastructure as possible and worthy.

Each one-page community description includes photos and advice to other small towns. Towns must have populations under 25,000 to be included. In this second edition, populations ranged from 1,500 to more than 15,000 people.

The U.S. Surgeon General recently issued a call to “make walking a national priority” and to “design communities that make it safe and easy to walk for people of all ages and abilities.” The health recommendation is to get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. While walking is the most common form of physical activity, health was not usually the primary motivator for these towns. Connecting people to local businesses, pride of place, safe ways to get to school, connection with nature, gathering spots, and even literacy featured in the reasons behind the towns’ efforts. 

Towns featured in the second edition are Eufaula, Alabama; Canton, Connecticut; Sergeant Bluff, Iowa; Hebron, Nebraska; Davidson, North Carolina; Molalla, Oregon; Sulphur Springs, Texas; and Soap Lake, Washington. The first edition was released in 2015.

There have been a bevy of

There have been a bevy of materials released recently in response to the Surgeon General's CTA.  I was intrigued this morning to read about the new Healthy Comprehensive Plan Assessment tool, developed by ChangeLab Solutions with support from the CDC. The Healthy Comprehensive Plan Assessment Tool helps communities determine if their comprehensive plan prioritizes health first.

Try out the beta version of this interactive resource to evaluate the policies in your community’s plan and receive a customized report with ways to make it stronger. Check out the site to get started!

Let us know what you think about this tool and how you evaluate and strengthen your comprehensive community programs!