One of the key reasons to support complete streets policies is for the health benefits of active transportation — streets that safely accommodate walking, biking and transit use give people the option to choose healthier ways of getting around. And boy, could we use more exercise — according to the National Complete Streets Coalition, nearly 32% of adults are obese, and the number of overweight or obese American children nearly tripled between 1980 and 2004. Health experts agree that a big factor is inactivity – 55 percent of the U.S. adult population falls short of recommended activity guidelines.
Now is your chance to tell the federal government how important the connection between health and infrastructure is to communities across the U.S. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is soliciting comments and feedback on the Healthy People 2020 process. Every 10 years, HHS issues a decade’s worth of national objectives for promoting health and preventing disease. Since 1979, Healthy People has set and monitored national health objectives to meet a broad range of health needs, encourage collaboration, and to guide individuals toward making informed health decisions.
The objectives are quite wide-ranging, but several pertain to active living and bicycle and pedestrian issues. Comments are due on objectives by December 31, 2009 – but it’s very informal and easy to comment. Individuals and organizations alike are submitting a sentence or two on the objectives they care about most.
To comment, go to http://www.healthypeople.gov/hp2020/Comments/default.asp