What if we labeled unwalkable neighborhoods like we do cigarettes?

The Surgeon General of the United States will kick off a new nationwide Call to Action later this morning, aiming to help Americans lead healthier lives—by making walking and physical activity built-in features of more of our neighborhoods.

Over the past decade, scores of research has shown the correlation between physical inactivity and sprawl development. Today, 10 percent of the preventable deaths in America are related to physical inactivity and its related diseases, including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes—and communities without safe places to walk are part of the problem. Smart Growth America’s 2003 report Measuring the Health Effects of Sprawl was one of the first to examine this issue. Today, the Surgeon General is making it a national health priority.

In his remarks this morning, Dr. Murthy will highlight the country’s significant health burden due to physical inactivity, and recommend critical actions the nation needs to take to improve community walkability across the country.

Too often, we build communities where walking is unsafe. That discourages physical activity, and is contributing to an epidemic of pedestrian deaths across the country. This leaves Americans with no choices about how to get where they need to go.

We can change this. Strategies like Complete Streets, innovative transportation investment, responsible real estate development, and downtown revitalization are all ways we can make walking and physical activity a built-in feature of more communities.

Help us celebrate this important step forward: share today’s announcement with friends, followers, and colleagues:

Building better communities can help Americans lead healthier, longer lives. Today’s call to action is a great step on the path to that goal.

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