SILVER SPRING, MD – September 15, 2015 – The U.S. Surgeon General is asking Americans to make walking a priority and to build more walkable communities. Last week, the U.S. Surgeon General announced a nationwide fitness program which focuses on walking: Step It Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities.
Simply put, the goal of Step It Up! is for all Americans to be more physically active through walking and it calls on the nation to better support walking and ‘walkability.’ To improve ‘walkability,’ communities must improve the environment to make walking safe and easy to do.
Question: Why is there all this attention given to walking? Answer: It will improve national health in the U.S. and reduce rising health care expenses.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, physical activity can reduce illness from chronic diseases and premature death. And, based on figures from the U.S. Burden of Disease Collaborators, chronic diseases are the leading causes of death in the United States and major contributors to disability. Walking, especially brisk walking, is an excellent form of physical activity.
Also, representatives from Harvard University and the U.S. government’s medical research agency analyzed the results of six previous studies into health and lifestyle. Their findings were eye-opening!
With two and a half hours of moderate exercise a week, such as brisk walking, people are extending their lives by more than seven years, according to the findings of the U.S. study
“We must not underestimate how important physical activity is for health – even modest amounts can add years to your life,” said Dr. I-Min Lee, a senior author of the U.S. study.
“We applaud the U.S. Surgeon General for taking a stance on walking as a vehicle to help reverse the ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ in the United States,” says Jim Baugh, founder of PHIT America. “With nearly 83 million inactive people in the U.S., encouraging people to walk can be a great way to reverse this negative trend toward physical inactivity.”
The Surgeon General has a few strategic goals to promote walking and walkable communities in the U. S.:
1.) make walking a national priority;
2.) design communities that make walking safe and easy to do for people of all ages;
3.) promote programs and policies to support walking where people live, learn, work, and play;
4.) provide information to encourage walking and improve ‘walkability.’
In the U.S. Surgeon General’s national report, it states that to achieve this national objective of getting people to walk, it will take a national effort involving the joint efforts of the public and private sector.
Founded in January 2013, PHIT America is a non-profit campaign focused on overcoming the severe ramifications of the ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ through three strategic approaches – education, supporting school-based activity programs, and advocating – which will get Americans, especially our youth, more active, fit and healthy.