Enjoying outdoor recreation, within neighborhoods and communities, is being recognized as an important means to help address serious health concerns.
From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
In an unprecedented move, eleven federal programs joined forces to promote healthy lifestyles through nutrition, physical activity, and recreation. As part of the unveiling of President Bush's Healthier U.S. initiative, Secretaries representing the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Agriculture, Department of the Interior, and the Department of the Army pledged to promote uses and benefits of the nation's public lands and water resources to enhance the physical and psychological health and well being of the American people.
American Trails joined several other national trails and recreation groups who are participating to support the federal efforts.
The agencies recognize that developing, using, and promoting resources such as trail systems will increase access to physical activity opportunities for our communities and provide an opportunity to integrate messages of physical activity and well being. Enjoying outdoor recreation, within neighborhoods and communities, is being recognized as an important means to help address serious health concerns such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, depression, and anxiety.
Using systematic reviews of published studies, the Task Force on Community Preventive Services strongly recommended creating access to trails and other places for physical activity. Communication strategies and outreach activities that promote using trails and facilities are also recommended. Commensurate with this recommendation, a significant component of the new partnership to promote public health and recreation is to increase awareness of the many recreational opportunities that exist in the United States.
Although the nation has a recreational infrastructure, many individuals have limited access to programs and opportunities. This unique collaboration between the four diverse federal agencies will provide a foundation to help expand recreational opportunities for the community.
Following the call from Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson for "communities and businesses to work together and create innovative ways to encourage greater physical activity," this partnership creates a unique alliance between a wide variety of federal agencies within the four departments.
The Memorandum of Understanding identifies collaborative activities to promote public health and recreation, such as:
To find out more and how you may be involved contact Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, 4770 Buford Highway, NE, MS/K-24 Atlanta, GA 30341-3717 or call (770) 488-5820.
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Updated March 17, 2007