Community Conversation: Walking and Bicycling Toward a Healthier Life

January 13, 2008
by Mary Ebeling
The Sheboygan Press

There is a growing consensus within the nation's medical community that Americans' lack of physical inactivity has reached a critical state. Inactive lifestyles have been linked to higher rates of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer. According to the Trust for America's Health, nearly two-thirds of American adults are either overweight or obese and obesity rates for adults have grown from 15 percent in 1980 to 32 percent in 2004. In Wisconsin, almost 25 percent of adults are obese. Studies show that access to facilities for biking or walking is an important factor in predicting how much an individual walks. This statistic also bears a significant impact upon the amount of physical activity. In communities considered highly walkable, individuals walk an average of 15 to 30 minutes more every week than those who live in neighborhoods in which there are fewer options to use non-motorized transportation.

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