America, let’s ALL Step It Up!

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Written by NCHPAD

On September 9th, 2015, the U.S. Surgeon General released a much anticipated Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities.  This call recognizes the importance of physical activity for people of all ages and abilities while calling on Americans to use walking as a way to be more active.  It also addresses the nation as a whole to better support walking and walkability.  From the Executive Summary, “The purpose of the Call to Action is to increase walking across the United States by calling for improved access to safe and convenient places to walk and wheelchair roll and by creating a culture that supports these activities for people of all ages and abilities.”  This monumental announcement was a step in the right direction for physical activity and inclusion in public health!  

At NCHPAD, we applaud the Surgeon General for the inclusion of people with disability in the report and at the announcement event.  We are so pleased that the Call to Action is one that truly includes all Americans.  At the announcement event in Washington D.C. it was Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, the 19th U.S. Surgeon General, stated, “For too many people living with a disability, the lack of walkable spaces has become a health equity issue.  Everyone deserves a safe place to walk and wheelchair roll.  We cannot be a strong America, unless we are a healthy America.” To further the message of inclusion, Juliette Rizzo with the U.S. Department of Education and Ms. Wheelchair America 2005, delivered a brilliant and moving speech on the inclusion of people with disability in walking and public health initiatives.  To see clips of her speech, visit @NCHPAD on Instagram.  

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To answer the Call to Action, NCHPAD has officially launched the How I Walk campaign to rebrand the word walking.  This movement is one that supports the important message of the Surgeon General’s Call to Action and builds upon the clear opportunity for us to ensure that all Americans have access to be physically active. By challenging the way we think of the word “walk”, the door is opened to creating full community health inclusion where perspectives are challenged and attitudes are changed. How I Walk is positioned to mobilize the disability and public health communities in rebranding walking to be an inclusive term. This campaign will be another important tool to address barriers that may exist in a person’s pursuit of physical activity. How I Walk encourages individuals to share their mode of walking through picture, video, or other media by using the hashtag #HowIWalk.  Additionally, How I Walk encourages health promotion providers and walking advocates to adopt this mentality while utilizing the campaign’s resources.  To learn more about this campaign and join the movement to rebrand walking, visit nchpad.org/howiwalk.  

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NCHPAD is ready to join the Surgeon General and other partners to Step It Up!—are you?  Learn what you can do to help make walking a national priority at www.surgeongeneral.gov/StepItUp and follow the conversation on social media #StepItUp.

Join the conversation by using this sample tweet: Let’s #StepItUp! Learn about the SG’s Call to Action & join @NCHPAD to create inclusion in walking. #HowIWalk odphp.tumblr.com

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