Increasing Active Living: A Guide for Policy-Makers: Policy-Making for Healthy and Active Communities


Publication Date: November 2007


Author(s): Leadership for Healthy Communities

Research Area: Health

Type: Report


Active living is a way of life that integrates physical activity into daily routines. The distance from home to work, the safety of public spaces and roads for pedestrians and bicyclists, the availability of facilities for physical activity, and time spent commuting in cars all contribute to how often we walk, bike or play.

Active Living: A Guide for Policy-Makers explains how the built environment—street layout, zoning and recreation facilities, among other design elements—can either encourage or discourage routine physical activity. The guide also outlines how expanding opportunities for physical activity, especially in neighborhoods with few existing options, can improve the health of our communities. In particular, the guide offers nine policy strategies that can create more activity-friendly environments, including:

* establishing collaboration between public-sector departments and coordinating efforts among sectors;
* supporting school facilities and policies that promote active living;
* improving streets, sidewalks and street-crossings for safer routes to school;
* supporting safe, pedestrian-oriented transportation;
* supporting land-use planning and development that encourage active living;
* identifying and creating funding sources for active living initiatives;
* publicizing the availability of active living resources in the community;
* supporting parks, trails and recreation facilities; and
* creating tax and other incentives to promote active living in workplaces, communities and households.

This guide was produced by Leadership for Healthy Communities, an RWJF national program.