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CPPW in Action

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Physical Activity

CPPW communities—including urban, small, rural, and tribal areas—are implementing environmental changes to make healthy living easier for Americans.

Thirty–nine (39) communities are improving health through implementation of policies, practices, and evidence–based strategies that increase physical activity to prevent obesity. These targeted interventions include requiring daily physical education in schools, improving access to physical activity within neighborhood settings through city planning, zoning, mixed–use agreements, and transportation planning. Below are a few examples of the many innovative successes already achieved by CPPW communities as of June 30, 2011.

Successful implementation of these evidence–based strategies will result in measurable and sustainable change and improve chronic disease health outcomes over time.


In Jefferson County, Alabama, 362 childcare centers are increasing access to physical activity for their 17,600 children. At least 1 hour of active playtime is now provided per 8-hour day for children 1 to 3 years old. In addition, screen time is limited to no more than 2.5 hours per week.

The city of Homewood in Jefferson County, Alabama, has adopted Complete Streets principles in planning improvements to streets and sidewalks. The city aims to support all modes of transportation, including walking, biking, and public transit, for the community’s 25,000 residents.

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North Little Rock, Arkansas, launched “Fit 2 Live,” a community outreach effort to encourage healthy living among its 60,000 residents. “Fit 2 Live” featured messages about healthy eating and physical activity using television, radio, billboards, and social media. The “Fit 2 Live” Web site provides a forum for community members to share innovative health programs and practices and tracks their individual progress towards improving their health.

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Los Angeles, California, has adopted Health Design standards to ensure greater access to physical activity opportunities and healthy food for the 237,000 residents of the county’s unincorporated areas. The standards call for more landscaping, street furniture, lighting, and bicycle parking to encourage walking, biking, and other physical activities. They also aim to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables by making it easier for residents to start community gardens and hold farmers’ markets.

The city of Huntington Park, located in Los Angeles County, California, has incorporated Complete Streets principles into planning future transportation projects. The city’s 58,000 residents, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit riders, will benefit from improvements to traffic signals, sidewalks, and curbs.

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Three child care providers in Bartholomew County, Indiana, have implemented physical activity requirements and limitations on time watching television, playing videogames, and using computers, for more than 600 children who they serve. Children must now spend at least an hour each day participating in physical activity while at the centers. Screen time is limited to no more than a half hour for children older than 2 years. In addition, the centers are serving more healthy food and beverages.

Vanderburgh County, Indiana, is partnering with 2 neighboring counties to provide safe and accessible roads for the communities’ 280,000 residents. Embracing Complete Streets, the communities are supporting active transportation through the addition of bike lanes and improved sidewalks and ramps. Efforts also are being made to slow or reduce motor vehicle traffic to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety.

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In Boston, Massachusetts, a bike-share program called Hubway is providing residents with access to more physical activity opportunities. More than 600 bicycles are accessible at 61 bike stations across the city. Subsidized memberships are available for low-income residents who take part in the program. In its first year, 217 subsidized memberships were issued and nearly 251,000 trips were taken.

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In Douglas County, Nebraska, 6 health systems–Alegent Health, Boys Town Pediatrics, Children’s Physicians, Creighton Medical Associates, Methodist Hospital and UNMC Physicians–have developed worksite wellness policies to support healthy living for their 800 employees. The policies encourage physical activity, including daily exercise, taking the stairs, and bicycling and walking.

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The city of Henderson, in Southern Nevada, has enacted new physical activity and nutrition guidelines for the Safe Key after-school program. Children must now spend at least a half hour per day on physical activity. In addition, they are being provided more fruits, vegetables, and healthy beverages. An estimated 2,200 children participate in the Safe Key Program per month.

In Clark County, Nevada, 75 childcare centers serving 10,000 children are increasing children’s access to physical activity, limiting exposure to sedentary screen time, and providing more nutritious meals. Each day while in the centers’ care, children take part in at least one hour of physical activity and are exposed to no more than one hour of screen time. Nutrition guidelines limit less healthy foods, such as sweets with high calories, and only healthy beverages are served

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New Mexico

The Health and Human Services Department in Pueblo of Jemez, New Mexico, is supporting employee health through a new Wellness Leave Policy. Employees may take up to 90 minutes off work each week to exercise. As a result, approximately 160 employees are participating in physical activities each week.

In Pueblo of Jemez, New Mexico, children in after-school programs now regularly receive 45 minutes of daily physical activity and healthy snacks. Approximately 30 children take part in the programs daily.

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New York

In New York City, New York, the school system has developed a central information system to track and evaluate health-related fitness levels of its 1.1 million students. The system is designed to be used with school-level wellness policies and interventions, and serve as an information resource for parents about their children’s health.

In New York City, New York, the “Make NYC Your GYM” educational initiative is promoting city parks, streets, beaches, and bike paths for physical activity. The initiative’s Website provides information about more than 1,000 free and low-cost programs, classes, and leagues offered throughout the city. A companion Facebook application provides opportunities for friends and families to connect and start physical activities of their own. More than 52,000 residents have visited and more than 1,800 events have been created using the Facebook application.

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North Carolina

Pitt County, North Carolina, has adopted a comprehensive land use plan which will provide more opportunities for physical activity and greater access to healthy food options for the county’s 168,000 residents. The plan includes mixed-use developments to promote walking, bicycling, and other physical recreation, as well as retail outlets with more healthy food offerings.

The Boys and Girl Clubs of Pitt County, North Carolina, are providing 45 minutes of daily physical activity for the 1,600 children who participate in their after-school programs. The clubs adhere to the Move More North Carolina: Recommended Standards for After-School Physical Activity.

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Hamilton County, Ohio is providing more physical activity opportunities and healthy snacks for the 6,100 students who participate in Cincinnati’s after-school programs. Each day, children now exercise for at least a half hour and receive nutritious snacks. The programs also provide health and wellness instruction.

In Hamilton County, Ohio, primary care providers with the WeTHRIVE! Hamilton County Learning Collaborative now regularly assess children for obesity and, if indicated, refer them for nutrition and physical activity counseling. As of July 2012, more than 75,000 pediatric patients had been assessed for obesity.

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In Multnomah County, Oregon, an estimated 35,000 students living in underserved neighborhoods of Portland will have increased access to safe walking and biking routes to school. The City of Portland’s Safe Routes to School Program has prioritized sidewalk and roadway improvements within neighborhoods that are homes to people of color, those experiencing poverty, people with disabilities, and individuals experiencing language barriers.

The city of Gresham in Multnomah County, Oregon, developed a comprehensive land use plan that provides more opportunities for physical activity and greater access to healthy food for the community’s 105,000 residents. The plan aims to support active transportation and physical activity by providing more complete and safe sidewalk networks, as well as additional parks and active spaces near residential areas. To enhance access to healthy foods, the plan calls for more full-service grocery stores and produce outlets in close proximity to where people live.

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Nashville, Tennessee, has integrated Complete Streets principles and practices within the city’s transportation planning process. The aim is to support safe, active transportation, including walking and bicycling, for the city’s 605,000 residents>.

Nashville, Tennessee, is encouraging physical activity for its 600,000 residents> through a free bicycle sharing program. Nashville GreenBikes provides residents opportunities to check out bikes at community centers and other locations throughout the city, which are directly linked to greenways, bike lanes, and shared-use bike routes.

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In San Antonio, Texas, the community’s Comprehensive Master Plan now incorporates Complete Streets principles. Future roadways will be designed to support active transportation, including bicycling and walking, for the community’s 1.3 million residents.

In October 2012, approximately 45,000 residents of San Antonio, Texas, participated in the third siclovia, San Antonio's family adventure day where community streets are temporarily closed to automobiles for biking, skating, walking, jogging, running, and aerobic classes. Siclovia, which was originally funded by a Communities Putting Preventing to Work grant, is now being sustained by the YMCA of Greater San Antonio. The event aims to get community members to make physical activity part of their lifestyles.

San Antonio, Texas, has incorporated Complete Streets principles into the community’s Comprehensive Master Plan. Roadways will now be designed to support safe, active transportation, including bicycling and walking, for the city’s 1.3 million residents.

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Federal Way, Washington, is incorporating Complete Streets principles into a Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan that will make walking and bicycling on city streets safer and easier for the city’s 89,000 residents.

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West Virginia

Four counties in Mid-Ohio Valley, West Virginia—Calhoun, Pleasants, Ritchie, and Wirt—are embracing Complete Streets principles in planning transportation improvements. Complete Streets are designed to enable safe street access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders. The counties have a combined population of 24,000 residents.

Six school districts in Mid-Ohio Valley, West Virginia, have implemented minimum physical education requirements for students. Students must now spend at least 150 minutes per week on physical activity. The change benefits a total of 7,200 students at 22 elementary, middle, and high schools.

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  • Page last reviewed: October 25, 2013
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