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New Guidebook Encourages Communities To Promote Physical Activity Through Design

(H. Michael Miley/Flickr)

A newly-published guidebook provides Hoosier communities with plans to encourage more physical activity and outlines ways to address common barriers.


Spaces and communities that are built to promote active living can result in people getting more exercise. Kim Irwin is executive director of the advocacy coalition Health By Design. She says some Hoosier cities are well connected with trails, sidewalks and park systems.


"But in lots of places they were just starting to think about these things, they didn’t have supportive infrastructure in place and they didn’t know how to get started," says Irwin. 


Health By Design worked with the Indiana State Department of Health and Purdue Extension to hold 46 workshops across the state to assess what neighborhoods need to promote physical activity.


More than 1,800 people participated in exercises and developed action plans that are included in the Active Living Guidebook. Irwin says community buy-in is key.


"One of the things we really learned is how critical that local elected leadership is in working with closely with community-based partners and advocates to get things done," says Irwin. 


The book is available online and lists policies, strategies and success stories that communities could adopt to improve health outcomes.


The five-year project received funding from the CDC.