The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Public Health is joining the U.S. Surgeon General’s “call to action” urging people of all ages to walk more and promote walkable communities.
“Regular physical activity and eating a healthy diet lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke, some cancers, and helps control type 2 diabetes,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta Commissioner for the Bureau for Public Health and State Health Officer. “Walking is good exercise for people of all ages and it’s free. You can walk alone or in a group, at any time of day, and in most types of weather. Physical activity and eating healthier meals will improve mood, memory and overall health. ”
Combating heart disease and diabetes is a top priority for the Bureau for Public Health (BPH) and the Bureau is working with communities, worksites and schools to improve trails and sidewalks for walking and assure connectivity in transportation planning and to promote healthy eating. The goal is for adults and children of all ability levels to have easy and safe access to physical activity in their communities.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who are physically active for about seven hours a week have a 40% lower risk of premature death than those who are active for less than 30 minutes per week, and the benefits of exercise add up. Each additional 15 minutes of daily exercise will reduce all causes of death from chronic disease by 4% and cancer deaths will be reduced by 1%.
“Daily engagement in physical activity and maintaining a healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables with whole grains and lean protein could dramatically reduce a person’s risk of developing many of the leading causes of death in our state,” said Jessica Wright, director of BPH’s Division of Health Promotion and Chronic Disease. “We are committed to working with community partners to help implement initiatives designed to help shape our communities, worksites, schools, and early childcare education centers to increase physical activity and healthy eating habits.”
To learn more about walkability, eating a healthy diet and additional projects geared toward improving the health of West Virginia, please visit www.tinyurl.com/walkingwv, or call the Division of Health Promotion and Chronic Disease at 304-356-4193.
For more information, contact DHHRCommunications@wv.gov or (304) 558-7899