Director's Outlook: Every Body Walk!

Deb HubsmithDid you make a new years resolution in 2013 to be more physically active?  How about to lose weight?  Spend more time with your kids? Or do you want to get more involved with your community? 

If any one of these represent your goals, I’ve got one word for you – WALK.

The year 2013 is set up to be a banner year for walking. Just before the end of 2012, more than 100 co-benefit partners gathered at Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Total Health in Washington, DC to begin to define an agenda which will have two legs:  1) get more people walking, and 2) build more walkable communities.

At that meeting, the US Surgeon General announced her support for the walking movement too, adding even more momentum to the cause.  And also last year the CDC released a Vital Signs report indicating that walking is America’s favorite form of activity and Americans are walking more often.

Building on this momentum, there is now a strong partnership focused on health prevention - between America Walks, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership (National Partnership), Kaiser Permanente and others -- that is beginning to transform America to make it a safer place to walk and get more people walking. This effort will result in increased physical activity and improved public health. 

I’m extremely honored to co-chair the Every Body Walk! Collaborative with Tyler Norris of Kaiser Permanente and to be working closely with Scott Bricker, the executive director of America Walks. The Safe Routes to School National Partnership, with our connection to schools, parents and children, is playing an important role in reaching the family audience of the national walking movement, and America Walks is serving as the backbone organization to enable this movement to grow and thrive.

Throughout 2013, we’ll be providing many ways for people and organizations to get involved in walking more and building more walkable communities. We’re going to want your stories about what makes walking great in your community. Through partnering with other organizations, we’ll be supporting state and local policy change to help parents, business owners and everyone plug in to improving walkability in your local community. We’re working with researchers too, and planning a walking conference for the fall of 2013.

Through our collective creativity, inspiration and passion we can build a stronger healthier America through more walking, and collaborate with our strong partners in the national bike movement to improve active transportation overall. 2013 is the year to increase physical activity, promote safety and advance equity through America’s favorite activity – walking.

I’m really looking forward to working with current and new partners to grow the national walking movement to its full potential.  Every Body Walk!