Surgeon General calls on Americans to walk more

By Bill Holloway

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released a “call to action” encouraging Americans to walk more as a way to improve health and wellbeing, and to spur improvement in the walkability of American communities. The document identifies five specific goals:

  • Make walking a national priority
  • Design communities that make it safe and easy to walk for people of all ages and abilities
  • Promote programs and policies to support walking where people live, learn, work, and play
  • Provide information to encourage walking and improve walkability
  • Fill surveillance, research, and evaluation gaps related to walking and walkability

In a blog post about the report’s release, Emily Badger, at the Washington Post, notes that policies of the federal government during the last century—subsidies for suburban sprawl development, low gas taxes, and highway investments—bear a large responsibility for making walking more difficult. As noted by Peter Norton, “nobody set out to deter walking but in making driving work almost everywhere, they in effect did the same thing.”

Bill Holloway is a Transportation Policy Analyst at SSTI.