ACE believes that increasing physical activity is arguably one of the most difficult and complex public health challenges facing the nation. Overcoming the challenge will require not only an investment in the development of well-trained fitness professionals who can leverage community assets to increase opportunities for physical activity; but also in the built environment and land use strategies.
We are, therefore, inspired by the recent recommendation from the United States Community Preventive Services Task Force on the use of combined built environment approaches to increase physical activity.
“The task force’s recommendation provides communities with clear guidance on how the built environment can support a culture of physical activity,” says ACE’s chief science officer, Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D.
Specifically, the task force recommends that communities pursue “built environment strategies combining one or more intervention approaches to improve pedestrian or bicycle transportation systems with one or more land use and environmental design interventions.”
Examples of interventions aimed at improving pedestrian or bicycle transportation systems include:
- Street connectivity that allows walkers, rollers and cyclists to safely travel to community hubs
- Sidewalk and pedestrian trail infrastructure
- Bicycle infrastructure
- Public transit infrastructure and access
Examples of interventions for land use and environmental design include:
- Mixed land use environments that increase the diversity and proximity of local destinations where people live, work and spend their recreation and leisure time
- Access to parks and other public or private recreational facilities
“ACE is deeply committed to supporting the built environment and land use policies with trained leaders and advocates who can maximize the community’s investment and get people moving toward healthier lifestyles,” says Bryant.
For example, ACE is thrilled to partner with GirlTrek, a national health movement that trains and supports black women to change lives and communities through walking.
ACE is also enormously proud to team up with Sports Backers of Richmond, VA to support the fantastically inspiring efforts of the Fitness Warriors, who volunteer to promote active living in Richmond’s communities with the highest rates of chronic disease.
To learn more about how you can get your community moving, please contact advocacy@ACEfitness.org.