Now Reading: From Recommending Walking to Making Walking Possible in Communities

Continuing the series I started yesterday, today’s post is about a 180 page guide that is about everything that makes walking possible outside the medical office, from policy to best practices in cities across the world.

Beyond the health and economic benefits of walking, there is better understanding of what makes a community walkable. This is a social determinants perspective, which includes safety, transportation, social equity, and policy actions that make walking possible for a population. Just a few starter quotes:

“Low income households are more reliant on walking, cycling, and transit infrastructure for personal mobility. A Brookings Institution report reveals that 7.5 million (10 percent) of American households do not have access to a private vehicle”

“Not a single dollar of the U.S. Transportation budget is dedicated solely to walking”

Yes, this guide is wonky, however if you want to understand what makes walking possible or not (and there is a lot that goes into this), this is the guide. It’s heavily illustrated with lots of stuff they never teach in medical school but does affect health, everything from streetscapes to sidewalks. And there’s even a cameo of yours truly, on page 148 (which I am not going to reproduce here, you’ll just have to request the guide and see for yourself :)).

I’m posting this here because it contains useful information, because it supports the understanding that total health is more than what happens in the exam room, because there are more ways that health can be integrated into every community policy, and because AmericaWalks exists to help people like me support the walking revolution – it’s a national nonprofit whose mission is “making America a Great Place to Walk!”

I first met AmericaWalks last year, when I walked to the meeting in August that I probably should have used public transportation for (but how can you not walk to a meeting about walking?). See: What it takes to advance and protect walking in our communities – a morning with @AmericaWalks @AARP HQ | Ted Eytan, MD.

This is piece #2 in the package of content I’m posting in anticipation of next week’s walking summit. Tomorrow, a focus on the economic benefits (to communities) of walking. Comments welcome.

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