Magazine article USA TODAY

Surgeon General: Walk This Way

Magazine article USA TODAY

Surgeon General: Walk This Way

Article excerpt

Step It Up! The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities articulates the health benefits of walking while addressing the fact that many communities lack safe and convenient places for individuals to walk or wheelchair roll.

"We know that an active lifestyle is critical to achieving good overall health, and walking is a simple, effective, and affordable way to build physical activity into our lives. That is why we need to step it up as a country ensuring that everyone can choose to walk in their own communities," says Vivek H. Murthy, the nation's 19th Surgeon General.

A study by the Department of Transportation, for instance, found that three out of every 10 Americans report that no sidewalks exist along any streets in their neighborhood. In many communities violence--and the perception of violence--may prove a barrier to walking.

The Surgeon General thus is calling on community planners and local leaders to create more areas for walking and wheelchair rolling and to prioritize the development of safe routes for children to get to and from schools. These designs should include sidewalks, curb cuts, crosswalks, safe crossings for the visually impaired, and more green spaces. …

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