Section 508 Navigation
National Trails Training partnership Skip Navigation
HomeAbout usTrailsWhat's hotCalendarTrainingResources & libraryPartnersJoin usStore

Title: health and fitness
Hosted by AmericanTrails.org

"Healthier US" aims for more active Americans

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

"Promoting resources such as trail systems will increase access to physical activity opportunities."

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.

Working Together

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:

  • Reviewing the condition and design of recreational facilities to ensure the public's active use
  • Providing information on the many places where natural environments and recreation opportunities exist
  • Developing and strengthening existing coalitions at community, state, regional, and national levels
  • Working with the US Department of Transportation to encourage using its funding program to support projects that promote recreation and physical activity
  • Using the cooperative agencies' research and social science capabilities to increase physical activity
  • Developing joint products and programs that foster public awareness and behavioral changes to increase physical activity

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.

More help with Trails & Health:

Related topics:


More resources:

NTTP logo


page footer

Contact us | Mission statement | Board of directors | Member organizations | Site map | Copyright | NRT | NTTP