Active People, Healthy Nation

Active People, Healthy Nation is a national initiative led by the CDC to help 27 million Americans become more physically active by 2027. Our profession plays a big role in keeping our communities active. This wellness blog will detail the importance of physical activity and assess current efforts.

According to the CDC, increased physical activity can improve health, quality of life, and reduce health care costs. While we often hear about the benefits of physical activity, I am often blown away by reading statistics about the importance.

The Active People, Healthy Nation initiative has compiled a long list of statistics that stress the importance of physical activity. While park and recreation professionals know the importance of our work, it is important to have evidenced based statistics to really drive home the facts. Below, I've included some of the statistics that stood out to me the most:

  • About 31 million adults aged 50 years or older are inactive, meaning they get no physical activity beyond that of daily living

  • Physical inactivity contributes to 1 in 10 premature deaths

  • Only 39% of the U.S. population lives within one-half miles of a park

  • Nearly 1 in 4 young adults are too heavy to serve in our military

For a full list of these statistics, check out this link. While these statistics can be hard to process, a huge opportunity exists to get more people up and active. The Active People, Healthy Nation website also includes a list of benefits of physical activity:

Lowers the risk of

  • Early death

  • Heart disease

  • Stroke

  • High blood pressure

  • Breast cancer

  • Colon cancer

  • Type 2 diabetes

For a full list of benefits, check out this link! To help reap these benefits, Active People, Healthy Nation are seeking to get 27 million more people active by the year 2027. To do this, they hope to get 15 million adults from inactive to some activity each day, 10 million adults from some physical activity to meeting the minimum physical activity guideline, and 2 million young people from some physical activity to the minimum guideline.

To reach this goal, the Active People, Healthy Nation has developed a toolkit to assist. They have recommended the implementations of program and policy improvements such as:

  • Participate in Safe Routes to Schools programs to create safe, convenient, and fun opportunities for children to bicycle and walk to and from school.

  • Promote social support interventions such as walking or cycling groups that create or strengthen social networks that help people increase their physical activity.

  • Develop shared-use agreements that allow community members to use existing community facilities such as playgrounds, gyms, or pools.

For a full list of their recommendations, click this link!

Parks and recreation is a major driver of physical activity in your communities. Hopefully, this blog post has given you some evidenced based statistics to use!

Until next time,


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