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Greetings, public health leaders and advocates,
deadline for sign-ons to the letter is March 18.
National Public Health Week is only a month away
National Public Health Week is right around the corner and we need your help to make this another successful campaign. NPHW, scheduled for April 1-7, is a time for us to recognize the contributions of public health and focus on pertinent public health issues. This year's NPHW theme is "Public Health is ROI: Save Lives, Save Money." The 2013 NPHW partner toolkit, fact sheets and other resources can be found by visiting the NPHW website (www.nphw.org). Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter at @NPHW and plan to participate in the NPHW Twitter chat on April 3, via #NPHWchat.
During NPHW you can highlight new and exciting opportunities while public health is in the spotlight, one of which is the concept of Open Streets. Open Streets (sometimes referred to Ciclovías, Sunday Streets or Streets Alive) is a program to temporarily close streets to automobile traffic so that people may use them for physical activity, such as walking, bicycling and dancing. This fun and family-friendly initiative, led by health agencies and advocates in cities across the country, continues to educate communities and promote physical activity. Open Streets require no new infrastructure and can help bring health and physical activity to communities most in need. To learn more, visit www.OpenStreetsProject.org and start thinking about how you can bring Open Streets to your community during NPHW and beyond. These articles on Open Streets may be of interest to you and your community:
Transportation: A Link to Improved
Health and Quality of Life
feature by APHA 2012 intern, Nicholas Shaffer
is vital for improving people's quality of life and connecting people to jobs,
healthy food, education and health services. However, many residents in rural
communities do not have easy access to efficient and safe transportation. Higher concentrations of
older adults and low-income citizens (two populations who are less likely to
drive) in rural areas could benefit from diverse transportation
options. Without an improved rural transportation system, towns risk isolating
citizens from their community and from needed resources.
populations vary depending on geographic setting, economy and social makeup,
transportation options will also differ. Options may include public transit
(buses, rail, vanpools) and active transportation (walking and biking). More
transportation options can be used by residents to gain access to resources
that can improve their health and promote an active lifestyle. Consider the
need for improved rural transportation:
- 38 percent of the nation's rural residents live in areas without any public transportation.
- 3.5 million rural residents lost access to scheduled intercity transportation between 2005 and 2010.
- Almost 40 percent of the U.S. transit-dependent population (older adults, people with disabilities and low-income people) live in rural locations.
- Food insecurity (limited availability of foods that are nutritional and safe) in rural regions is above the national average. Many rural residents have a limited selection and pay more for nutritious food than urban residents due to inadequate transportation options and long distances.
- Children living in rural areas are more likely to be overweight (35.5 percent) than those in urban areas (29.5 percent) and obese (18.5 percent vs. 15.2 percent). Children living in rural areas without proper infrastructure and public transportation may find limited opportunities for daily exercise.
- Among women in the U.S., urban residents (79.5 percent) have better access to sidewalks than rural residents (15.2 percent).
However, there are many rural
communities that were built on transportation corridors and have interconnected
street networks that can support walking or biking. Therefore, a foundation
exists to expand rural transportation within and between rural localities. For rural
residents, almost 40 percent of trips made are shorter than three miles, and of those
trips, half are less than one mile. This means walking and biking could be a
viable form of transportation. A study
conducted in 12 Missouri rural communities found that walking trails can be
beneficial in promoting physical activity among segments of the population at
highest risk for inactivity, in particular women and low income individuals. One example of a rural transportation programs comes from Alpine, Utah. Using money awarded from a federal grant and from the town budget, Alpine installed
solar powered speed signs, an active transportation path and improved bike
storage facilities near the local elementary school. With the new improvement,
50 percent of students are walking or biking to the Alpine Elementary School. The new
installations have also resulted in less traffic and safer driving conditions.
Another example shows the connection to health care access. The Chocktaw Nation in Oklahoma used federal funds to purchase ADA-accessible
vehicles. With these new vehicles, drivers were able to improve service and
increase residents' access to health care. The transportation service provides
both demand-response and fixed routes. The main goal of the transportation
service is to provide tribal members with visits to and from non-emergency
County, Minn., the Isanti County Active Living Partnership helped address the
county's rising population of overweight adults (55 percent) by encouraging residents
to be more physically active and healthy. Over five years, the Partnership created
walking routes, with corresponding maps, throughout the county. While a perceived
lack of safety used to be a barrier to physical activity, the new
infrastructure additions have created safe routes that allow residents of
Isanti County to remain active.
The Wyoming Valley Wellness Trails Partnership in Pennsylvania promotes trails as a
way to pursue healthier lifestyles. In Wyoming Valley, one in four residents is
moderately or severely overweight. In an effort to create safe and accessible
opportunities for physical activity that were close to homes and jobs, WVWTP
constructed 15 miles of multi-use trail and one mile of sidewalk trail. WVWTP is
now closer to its goal of having an interconnected system of trails that
allow residents to be physically active and walk and bike safely to school,
work and local businesses. For more information about designing healthy environments, see CDC’s fact sheet on the topic and APHA’s reports and fact sheets.
|Resources and News
New resources from the American Journal of Public Health, The Nation's Health and Public Health Newswire:
Health co-benefits and
transportation-related reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the San
Francisco Bay Area. Neil Maizlish, PhD, James Woodcock, PhD, Sean Co, MS, Bart Ostro, PhD, Amir Fanai, CEng IMechE, and David Fairley, PhD.
American Journal of Public Health: Published ahead of print February 2013.
Free webinar on March 19: Building the Walking Movement — New Strategies and Coalitions
With generous support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and support from APHA, America Walks is hosting the third webinar in the six-part All Things Walking series: Building the Walking Movement—New Strategies and Coalitions. The free webinar will be held on Tuesday, March 19 from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET. Register today!
New program from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership
Routes to School National Partnership is pleased to announce the national
expansion of the Fire Up
Your Feet program. Newly enhanced, Fire Up Your Feet is the “go to” resource for families, teachers, and school staff who want to encourage kids to
walk, play and get moving. Centered around the school day, Fire Up Your Feet
provides a full range of age-appropriate resources and educational materials to
encourage physical activity to, from and at schools. Public health partners can
visit fireupyourfeet.org to take advantage of activity tips, healthy
fundraising resources, and in some states, an Activity Tracking and
Challenge Awards program. Check out the resources available for your region at fireupyourfeet.org.
Participate in Global Youth Traffic Safety Month
in May, young people across the nation unite during Global Youth Traffic Safety Month to focus on the leading cause of
death for themselves and their peers: traffic-related crashes. Participate in Global
Youth Traffic Safety Month by joining Act Out Loud, which is the traffic safety
campaign designed with young adults in mind.
|Upcoming Events in 2013
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