The US Surgeon General issued a Call to Action this week, asking Americans to #StepitUp and start walking more.
This Call to Action is needed and is well timed to coincide with Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and Healthy Aging Month …and coincidentally with the launch of GMTMA’s walk to school smarthphone app.
According to the Surgeon General, “one out of every two U.S. adults is living with a chronic disease, such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes.” Healthfinder.gov states that one in three children in the U.S is overweight or obese and at risk of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. All of these health issues can be prevented with regular activity, but many adults and many children do not meet the guidelines for daily physical activity.
The most popular form of physical activity is walking and it can be done with a purpose, such as getting to work, to the train station, running errands, or walking to school.
Walking has many benefits for your health and your community. More walkers improve safety in your neighborhood, slow down traffic, reduce pollution, and encourage social interaction. Walkable communities are making it easier for older adults to age in place, and for young children to walk to school.
So what can be done to improve walkability in your community? And how can GMTMA help?
- Make it easier for students to walk to from school, and one of the report’s recommendations is to “Implement Safe Routes to School or similar walk-to-school programs.”
GMTMA’s Safe Routes to School coordinators can implement walk-to-school programs, and we have recently launched a free app to help busy parents set up walking groups to school. We can also do walkability audits, school travel plans and assist with infrastructure grants. Just call us, we are happy to help.
- The report also recommends implementing work programs and policies that promote walking. Employers around Mercer and Ocean counties, your TMA can help with that, just call us. Employers that work with us and implement programs and policies to promote walking, biking, carpooling, and reducing congestion and pollution, get recognition with the New Jersey Smart Workplaces award. Check out our current awardees.
These are just a couple of the recommendations found in the Surgeon General’s Call to Action, which is available here.
Bottom line, we have to start doing something about our health and the health of our communities and walking is a good start. Start walking, get to know the people in your community, start the conversation, talk about changes that can be made to improve walkability, and who knows, next step could be walking or biking to work.
And as usual if you have any questions or comments, or you want to be a guest blogger, please contact us.