Step It Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities


This call to action uses persuasion to reach out to their target audience. According to the website, “one out of every two U.S. adults is living with a chronic disease, such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes These diseases contribute to disability, premature death, and health care costs.” So, they believe that people need to increase their physical activity to reduce their risk of these diseases. The easiest way to do that is to Step it Up!  and take a walk. However, in order to make this possible, there needs to be walkable communities. The Call to Action has five goals to promote walking and walkable communities in the United States, including “make walking a national priority; design communities that make it safe and easy to walk for people of all ages and abilities; promote programs and policies to support walking where people live, learn, work, and play; provide information to encourage walking and improve walkability; and fill surveillance, research, and evaluation gaps related to walking and walkability. Action by multiple sectors of society, as well as by families and individuals, will be needed to achieve these goals.” According to the pdf, there are community and street design policies recommended to increasing physical activity, including walking. This means that there should be a community design to support physical activity, “by locating residences within short walking distance of stores, worksites, public transportation, essential services, and schools and by building and maintaining sidewalks or paths between destinations that are well-connected, safe, and attractive.” Similar to the ideas in StreetFight, this call to action suggests that street design can also support walking and enhance pedestrian safety through measures that “improve street lighting and landscaping and reduce traffic speed.” Furthermore, the call to action also explains the many programs that supports bicycling and walking strategies across neighborhoods and cities. This is a reiteration of what Sadik-Kahn discussed in her book about the need to redesign streets for bicyclists and pedestrians without dismantling any lanes for cars, and to help decrease traffic and accidents. However, Sadik-Kahn’s argument is more for the bicycling community and not the walking community.


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