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News & Press: Public Heath News

Wisconsin Active Together Recognizes New Communities

Friday, October 4, 2019  
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Together we can Walk, Ride, and Roll Our Way to Thriving Communities!


MADISON, WI - Wisconsin Active Together opens the fall season in 2019 by recognizing three new communities from across the state for their efforts to promote active lifestyles and for their pledge to do more--because to keep moving forward, it’s important to celebrate accomplishments to create healthy communities that are often years in the making! 


Where we live impacts our wellness, and the newly named Wisconsin Active Together Communities, now reaching over 2 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. 


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:  


  • Kenosha County

  • City of Jefferson

  • Washington County 


“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.”


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 32.0% 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 

The State of Obesity - https://www.stateofobesity.org/states/wi/


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