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The Link Between Transportation and Public Health

The CDC released their new website Active People, Healthy Nation. Here’s how the League is working with them to promote walkable and bikeable communities.

We all know the link between physical activity and bicycling. Many League members come to us through their bike clubs, and each year we hear from National Bike Challenge participants motivated by improving their health. The League is now more fully integrating that message into our work.  

Communities across the United States are starting to make the connection between physical activity and land use and transportation options. This year, the League has become a partner with the CDC and their Active People, Healthy Nation program to promote transportation, land use planning, and systems that create walkable, bikeable communities. Their new website lays out five actions both individuals and organizations can take to help make physical activity more accessible in daily life.

The CDC reports that only one in five adults and one in five high school students fully meet physical activity guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities. Unfortunately, the easiest way to increase physical activity, by walking and biking in your neighborhood, is not available to most Americans. The CDC reports that:

·       Only 39% of the U.S. population lives within one-half mile of a park.

·       Only 40% of school-aged youth who live a mile or less from school report that they usually walk to or from school.

The League’s work:

1.     First, we are publishing the next version of The Benchmarking Report on Bicycling and Walking, funded by the CDC. The Benchmarking report was previously published in five editions from 2007 to 2016 by the Alliance for Bicycling and Walking, and tracks active transportation data in the 50 states and the 50 largest cities. Look for the 2018 version later this year!

2.     Second, we are talking with our state and local affiliates about opportunities to partner with the Departments of Public Health in the states and communities. In September, the Active Transportation Leadership Institute (ATLI) held a session bringing together representatives from the Departments of Public Health at the State, local, and county level with bicycle advocates to hear more about successful partnerships, and to share tips on how to reach out to public health professionals.

3.     At the 2019 National Bike Summit, the League will integrate health into our sessions and workshops. Based on feedback from the ATLI meeting, we will host a workshop on “Working with Public Health Departments” at the National Bike Summit.



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