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For Immediate Release: September 10, 2015
Contact: Jess Berthold, Jessica@preventioninstitute.org ; 510 444-7738

Prevention Institute applauds the Surgeon General for his leadership and vision on walkability. In a call to action released yesterday, Dr. Vivek Murthy made the case for walkability, showing that regular physical activity can help prevent or manage chronic disease, boost quality of life,  connect community members to one another and neighborhood resources, and close gaps in health and safety, and he called for diverse sectors of society to work together to “design communities that make it safe and easy to walk for people of all ages and abilities.” 

“Dr. Murthy has taken a critical step to raise awareness about the importance of walkable communities to ensure the public’s health,” said Prevention Institute’s Managing Director, Manal J. Aboelata, who has devoted her career to embedding health and equity in community design and planning. “Walkable neighborhoods contribute to strong, thriving communities, where everyone can access safe places to be active, transit connections, abundant healthy food retail, and affordable housing within walking distance to good schools and jobs.” 

Addressing walkability isn’t just a nice thing to do—it’s a gateway for improving social and economic conditions like neighborhood safety, access to quality education and jobs, environmental sustainability, and local economic development. “Creating walkable communities is about more than just building sidewalks and crosswalks—a truly walkable community is free from violence and injury, where residents have a voice in how neighborhoods look and feel, so that people of all ages and abilities can get around safely,” Aboelata said. 

Creating opportunities to walk to schools, workplaces, recreational spaces, healthy food outlets, and other neighborhood destinations makes communities healthier, safer and more equitable places to live. Some pathways to advance walkability in every US community, particularly rural and urban communities that face the greatest barriers to walkability, include the following: 

Surgeon General Murthy and the Department of Health and Human Services have taken a clear stance on walkability. Now it’s critical that government, businesses, the non-profit sector and community residents work together to achieve healthier, walkable communities for all.


Prevention Institute is an Oakland, California-based nonprofit research, policy, and action center that works nationally to promote prevention, health, and equity by fostering community and policy change so that all people live in healthy, safe environments.


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