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News & Press: Public Heath News

A New Year for Making Wisconsin Active Together

Thursday, January 10, 2019  
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Walk, Ride, and Roll Our Way to a Thriving Community!


MADISON, WI - Wisconsin Active Together starts 2019 by recognizing fourteen new communities from across the state for their efforts to promote active lifestyles and for their pledge to do more--because in addition to celebrating accomplishments, communities can make resolutions to foster health too!


Where we live impacts our wellness, and the newly named Wisconsin Active Together Communities, now reaching 1.4 million Wisconsinites across the state, know that even small changes in the landscape and in promoting being active can add up to creating lasting changes for everyone’s benefit, impacting both health and economic vitality.


And now your community can apply to be recognized for its commitment to advancing strategies for safe places to walk, bike, and be active while getting connected to resources, training, and a peer network of experts. Make 2019 your community’s year to thrive. Apply today and build a healthier community!


Created and supported by statewide organizations, networks, and agencies, Wisconsin Active Together is proud to announce the following newly named Wisconsin Active Together Communities. Get to know them through their community profiles at WIActiveTogether.org:  


  • East Central Wisconsin; East Central Regional Planning

  • Fitchburg; Bike Fitchburg

  • Ft Atkinson; Fort Healthy Wellness Coalition

  • Greater Green Bay / Brown County; Wello

  • Jackson County; Jackson in Action

  • Manitowoc County; Healthiest Manitowoc County

  • Middleton; City of Middleton

  • Oregon; Oregon Area Chamber of Commerce

  • Sheboygan; Mayor's Neighborhood Leadership Cabinet

  • Sun Prairie; Sun Prairie Bicycling Advocacy Group

  • Cambridge; Cambridge Wellness Collaborative

  • Verona; City of Verona and the Verona Chamber of Commerce

  • Walworth County; Walworth County Healthy Eating Active Living

  • Whitewater; City of Whitewater


“It’s an opportunity to work locally while being part of something larger happening across the state,” Jen Walker, healthTIDE Active Communities team lead and Wisconsin Active Communities Alliance coordinator said. “We want to celebrate local progress in promoting opportunities to increase physical activity, through community design that creates safe ways to walk and bike and more places to play and be active.”


So for 2019, let’s work to make Wisconsin Active Together! Interested in applying, being recognized, and getting peer support? Coalitions at the regional, county, city, even neighborhood level are encouraged to learn more at WIActiveTogether.org.


Once selected, your community will be recognized for its progress and commitment to making it easier to walk, bike, and be active while also getting support to work towards greater policy change to foster health so their communities can thrive. Apply today or reach out for more info.

“The Wisconsin Active Together Application is easy to fill out and gives you a comprehensive scorecard around walking, biking, and being active,” Aaron Ruff,  Public Health Educator at Marathon County Health Department in Wausau. “And we’re going to be able to use the application to look at what efforts we can improve to make life better for residents in our city.”

The statewide partners who have co-developed and/or support the Wisconsin Active Together campaign are numerous. Brought together through the healthTIDE network and its Active Communities Team, they launched the effort in order to support local communities for their commitment to health through growing and promoting their places to walk, bike and be active, while also sponsoring coaching, peer networking, and in person and virtual trainings, among other resources.


The partners include healthTIDE, the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, the Wisconsin Active Communities Alliance (WACA), the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and Main Street Communities, the YMCA, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative, the Wisconsin Bicycle Federation, and the American Planning Association Wisconsin Chapter. For a complete list, visit WIActiveTogether.org.


Funding that supports the healthTIDE network to convene these numerous and diverse partners and to support the development of Wisconsin Active Together is funded by a grant from the Wisconsin Partnership Program/School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison as part of the Wisconsin Obesity Prevention Initiative.



BACKGROUND ON THE ISSUE


Wisconsin Active Together is an effort to recognize and support communities for their commitment to health through growing and promoting places to walk, bike and be active.


As sponsors, we aim to foster local-level implementation and promote a framework moving communities from program to policy change. This includes promoting being active and changing the built environment and advancing policies to ensure it is easy and safe to be physically active in our communities.


Further, we know that people enjoy living in places that promote walkability and active transportation, that these measures help local economies to thrive, and that being active improves health outcomes while decreasing health care costs and lost productivity.


Communities can produce broad, lasting, improved health outcomes by making healthier choices available to and practical for their residents through environmental change and promotion. The availability of healthier choices can affect the behaviors and practices of many people simultaneously. As a result, positive environmental changes can reduce the burden of chronic diseases and other health problems.


Effective change also can help reduce health disparities. Alleviating some of the barriers to healthy choices and behaviors—particularly for those who bear the greatest burden of disease due to a lack of access to healthy options—can help to make healthy living easier, safer, and more affordable.


Specifically:

  • The adult obesity rate that stands to be improved by increases in physical activity is at 30.7% in Wisconsin, worse than the national average. And childhood obesity is at 14.7%. So any impact we can have in our communities could stem the tide, reverse the trend, and foster health.


  • A full 50.8% or Wisconsinites do not meet the recommended 150 minutes a week of physical activity, also lagging behind the U.S. average.


  • When looking at children and adolescents who live in areas that have a park, rec center, community center, and sidewalks, only 35.5% have these elements in their physical environment. Areas specifically with parks and playgrounds are better for our state at 76.5%; though still trailing behind the national average. Together, we aim to do better and thereby foster improved health.


Reference:

Wisconsin Health Atlas Statewide Dashboard - www.wihealthatlas.org/wmjindicators


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