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New effort to move Pierce County in a healthier direction

February 9, 2017

Local agencies to learn more about benefits of walking and walkability

Community representatives to receive training to promote walking, plan walkable communities in Pierce County.

TACOMA, Wash. – When you go for a walk, you take a big step toward better health. During Step It Up: Action Institute to Increase Walking and Walkability training in Atlanta April 3-6, a local team will learn strategies to get more Pierce County residents moving.

Step It Up! is the U.S. Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities. The five-member team represents Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, the City of Tacoma, Puget Sound Regional Council, Pierce County, and Downtown on the Go. It’s one of only 10 from across the country invited to learn more about walking and walkable communities.

“About 20 minutes a day of moderate intensity aerobic activity, like walking, can decrease the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes,” said Shelley Wallace, health promotion coordinator at Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. “Walking is a public health intervention, and it’s essential that everyone have safe access to walking areas for a chance to improve their health,” Wallace said.

Pierce County has already taken steps to promote walkability. The Safe Routes to School program, Walking Wednesdays, and pedestrian crossing improvements are a few examples. The training in Atlanta will help the team coordinate and expand efforts like these. The Health Department received a $7,304 federal grant from the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors for travel expenses to attend the training.

The Puget Sound Regional Council plans for regional transportation, among other things, in Pierce, King, Kitsap, and Snohomish counties. PSRC is working with Pierce County on walking and walkability needs because of transit cutbacks and opportunities to increase health. The team plans to share concepts from the training with others focused on walkability throughout the region.

Learn more about efforts to promote walking and walkability in Pierce County:

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