Walkable Routes, Access To Local Parks, Community Bike Paths Most Important Factors Influencing Physical Activity
Seven out of
10 Americans say their community environment influences their level of
physical activity and overall health, according to results of a new
study done for the YMCA of the USA.
half (56 percent) of survey respondents rank walkable routes in the
community as the first or second most important factor positively
influencing their physical activity, followed by access to local parks
(28 percent) and community bike paths (26 percent).
validates the important role government, community leaders and
organizations must play in transforming their communities into
healthier environments and reversing rising rates of obesity and
chronic disease," said Kenneth L. Gladish, Ph.D., president and chief
executive officer, YMCA of the USA. "We do know that to be successful,
change must start at the grassroots level. And, we are gratified by the
fact after just one year, the YMCA Activate America: Pioneering
Healthier Communities Project is making a measurable impact on local
citizens by mobilizing effective public-private partnerships."
Dr. Gladish, of keen interest to Conference attendees, elected
officials and public health figures, alike, will be the finding that
percent of Americans believe, after themselves, government and health
insurers should share the lead responsibility for creating healthier
communities. Community leaders and organizers are the parties ranked as
the second and third most responsible, followed by employers and
Activate America initiative aims to respond to the current public
health challenge precisely by creating the collaborative structure
supported by the public. The YMCA Activate America: Pioneering
Healthier Communities Project is rooted in the principle that only
community-based teams will truly be able to create sustainable change.
It includes elected officials, public health decision makers and
corporate leaders and others who have committed to create
public-private partnerships that will realize long-lasting, meaningful
change for their communities.
Attitudes About Health and Wellness at School, Home and Work
When asked to
rank a list of potential barriers to physical activity and good
nutrition, 40 percent of respondents cite lack of time as the primary
or secondary reason. The third most common barrier is the ease and
convenience of fast food.
percent of U.S. consumers say more economic pricing of nutritious foods
would be the first or second most valuable change to help them and
their family improve their physical health. Also among the top ranked
changes are safer outdoor environments (26 percent) and workplace
wellness programs (19 percent).
Community Change Agents
Two out of
every 10 Americans say they see a personal role for themselves to make
their local community a place that advocates better health. And, they
can see well-known personalities working in this quest to bring about
community change. Perhaps it is not surprising that personalities long
associated with persistence, determination and successful realization
of their goals-- including most notably Tour de France champion Lance
Armstrong (34 percent) and media maven Oprah Winfrey (30 percent)--
were the top picks, followed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (12
percent) and former President Bill Clinton (11 percent).
The YMCA of
the USA is the national resource office for the nation's 2,594 YMCAs.
The online survey of 1086 male and female adults (18-years-old and
over) was conducted by Greenfield Online, Inc. inNovember 2005.
The survey was released during the recent at the YMCA Activate AmericaTM:
Pioneering Healthier Communities National Conference. The conference
was attended by some 230 leaders from urban and rural communities
across the U.S. who are charged with re-engineering their hometowns
into healthier environments where physical activity can be enjoyed and
the rising obesity epidemic arrested through a combination of
2004 with 14 communities, this project has spread to 21 communities in
2005-bringing the total number of communities involved nationwide to
35. It is part of the multi-year YMCA Activate America initiative, the
YMCA's long-term national mobilization effort that seeks to improve the
health and wellness of millions of Americans.
For more information on the YMCA, visit www.ymca.net.