Surgeon General's prescription for health: walkable communities

step it up


It's not easy to walk in much of North America; most people now live in suburbs that were designed for cars. Now the US Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, is calling for a change.

Walking helps people stay both physically and mentally healthy. It brings business districts to life and can help reduce air pollution. However, there are barriers to choosing even this simple form of physical activity. Many of us live in neighborhoods that can present barriers to walking. Important places, such as shops, schools, parks, or senior centers, may not be near enough to reach by walking; there may be no sidewalks; or there may be concerns about safety. Lack of time can be a barrier, as can health problems.

He is also calling for a redesign of our communities.

People should be able to walk almost anywhere. Designing communities to encourage pedestrian activity will make it safer and easier for all users, including those with mobility limitations and other disabilities. For example, streets can be designed to include sidewalks and improve traffic safety, and communities can locate residences, schools, worksites, businesses, parks, recreational facilities, and other places that people regularly use within walkable distance of each other.

Read more here.