The Healthy People 2010 program was created by the United States Government in conjunction with leading scientists to identify measurable objectives within the health field to improve the health status of the population of the United States. One of the programs main goals is to "increase quality and years of healthy life" (Healthy People 2010, n.d.). The program contains 28 focus areas that the government has determined has the most impact on our health as a country. This paper will provide an overview of the goal of Physical Activity as well as the health affects physical inactivity can cause. This paper will also propose a policy around land use development and pedestrian access, aiming to increase the daily physical activity of adults in communities across the state of Connecticut. Background
Exercise has become a main focus of health care providers over that past few decades. Research has shown that poor diet and physical inactivity play a large role in the development of chronic conditions such as obesity, coronary heart disease and diabetes, which are among the leading causes of death here in the United States. The devastating health affects caused by physical inactivity are why the government has included Physical Activity as one of the 28 focus areas in the Healthy People 2010 program. The overall Physical activity goal is to "improve health, fitness, and quality of life through daily physical activity". In order to achieve this overarching goal several objectives have been identified. Objective two aims at "Increasing the proportion of adults who engage regularly, preferably daily, in moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes per day." The target goal for Healthy People 2010 is 30% (Healthy People 2010, n.d.). The Center of Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults should engage in moderate exercise for 30 minutes five days or more a week. Currently, only 26% of the adult population in the United States meets these recommended levels. An astonishing 28% of the adult population leads a sedentary lifestyle with no regular exercise at all. Today, it is estimated that the annual costs of the conditions caused by obesity and being overweight stands at $117 billion. If Americans became more active and engaged in the minimum recommended exercise levels set forth by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention there could be a $76.6 billion a year savings. (Active Living for Design Organization, n.d.) Formulation
According to the Active Living for Design Organization (n.d.), walking and biking have become less convenient. In fact, from 1977 to 1995, walking trips decreased by 40 %while driving trips increased by almost 90 %. Even more alarming are the statistics that show that a quarter of all trips people make are one mile or less and three quarters of these trips are made by car. Currently, states only allocate 55 cents per person of federal dollars allocated for transportation on pedestrian projects compared to 72 dollars per person on highway projects. (Active Living for Design Organization (n.d.) In 2003, Harvard University conducted a poll that reported a majority of adults feel that the government should take a role in the physical activity of its citizens. Local, state and federal governments play a key role because decisions made about land development are often made by government officials. These government officials decide where sidewalks should be added, where to allocate open space and park recreation areas and what modes of transportation will be affected and used in new developments and communities (Swann, C., June 27, 2005).
A new policy aimed at increasing the percent of federal funding allocated for pedestrian projects by 10 % over the next five years will be brought forth to the state of Connecticut legislature. The new policy will mandate that all new state and local streets and highways are constructed to...