Ashburn, Va. (April 3, 2017) — Where we live, work and play can directly impact our physical and mental health. To more aggressively combat negative health factors such as obesity, diabetes, asthma and anxiety, leaders of the nation’s built environment and public health organizations today pledged their support to promote greater collaboration to advance healthier, more walkable communities.
The “Joint Call to Action to Promote Healthy Communities,” brings together 450,000 professionals who recognize that the built environment — the way a community is designed and built from its buildings and public spaces to how we travel between communities — is a key determinant of health. Working together will create new momentum towards the common objective of creating and sustaining healthy buildings and spaces.
Providing options for how residents want to move around as well as encouraging physical activity can be achieved through a variety of ways. Solutions may include multi-use pathways for walking and biking, Complete Streets policies, equitable and affordable transportation and transit-oriented communities, implementation of green infrastructure, more efficient land, water and resource use, expanded tree canopies, and access to buildings with health-promoting indoor environments.
Improving community health also has a direct economic benefit. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report 86 percent of health care spending in 2010 was for people with one or more chronic medical conditions.
“As leaders in health and wellness, park and recreation professionals and advocates play a critical role in building healthy communities,” said Barbara Tulipane, NRPA president and CEO. “From helping combat obesity and other related illnesses, to providing healthy out-of-school-time meals to more than 500,000 children, we are making a difference. We look forward to expanding our work by collaborating with our built environment and public health partners to build safe and healthy environments for everyone.”
The “Joint Call to Action to Promote Healthy Communities” specifically addresses four key points:
Creating and fostering partnerships that advance health;
Building and understanding of health data and establishing measurable health objectives for plans and projects;
Advancing policies, programs, and systems that promote community health, well-being and equity; and
Communicating the importance of health.
Read the full “Joint Call to Action.”
Organizations supporting today’s call to action include:
- American Institute of Architects
- American Planning Association
- American Public Health Association
- American Society of Civil Engineers
- American Society of Landscape Architects
- National Recreation and Park Association
- U.S. Green Building Council
- Urban Land Institute