Obesity isn’t the only health hazard that can be offset by exercise; people who are physically active generally live longer and have a lower risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, and some cancers.
According to the 2014 State Indicator on Physical Activity, environmental and policy strategies such as access to safe places for physical activity, physical education and physical activity in schools and child care settings, and street-scale and community-scale design policy can help increase physical activity behavior among all Americans. Overall, most states have environmental and policy strategies in place that encourage physical activity.
More than half of youth in the United States have access to parks or playground areas, recreation centers, boys’ and girls’ clubs, and walking paths or sidewalks in their neighborhoods.
The report also finds that 27 states have adopted policies that formalize their intent to plan, design and maintain streets so they are safe for all users including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, transit riders, and those in wheelchairs.