Philadelphia is facing a public health crisis:

  1. In 2010, 66.3% of adults and 40.7% of children in Philadelphia were overweight or obese.
  2. Among counties containing one of the largest U.S. cities, Philadelphia County has the highest prevalence of hypertension (34.5%) and heart disease (4.7%), and the second-highest prevalence of obesity (29.3%) and diabetes (10.7%).
  3. Since 2000, approximately 24,000 Philadelphians have died of diseases caused by poor diet and insufficient physical activity.
  4. Nearly half of Philadelphia children are overweight or obese and few have opportunities for regular physical activity. One quarter of the City’s children do not get sustained (30 minutes) even once a week.
  5. On average, 46.9% of children citywide are either overweight or obese.¹

Active transportation can provide a critical source of daily exercise:

“Active commuting to and from school has been associated with an increase in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and a decrease in body fat in children between 12 and 19 years old.”²

“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 60 minutes of physical activity for children on most, preferably all days of the week. For children and adolescents, this regular physical activity helps build and maintain healthy bones and muscles, reduces the risk of developing obesity and chronic diseases, reduces feelings of depression and anxiety, and promotes psychological well-being.”³

“In 40 years, the percentage of children using active transportation to get to school has fallen from 48% in 1969 to 13% in 2009.”*

By encouraging regular physical activity-and teaching students how to be safe while doing so-Safe Routes Philly will help our children to live healthier and safer lives.

¹[Sources: 1) 2010 PHMC Household Health Survey; 2) See Nat’l Ctr. for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, U.S. Dep’t of Health and Human Services., Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (2009); Nat’l Ctr. for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, U.S. Dep’t of Health and Human Services., Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (2008); 3) Philadelphia Department of Public Health Annual Vital Statistics Reports; Mokdad A et al. “Actual Causes of Death in the U.S. 2000.” Jama, 2004. (291)10:1238-1245.; 4-5) Philadelphia Health Management Corporation, Community Health Data Base, 2008 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey]
²Source: 13 – Mendoza, J.A., Watson, K., Nguyen, N., Cerin, E., Baranowski, T., Nicklas, T.A. 2011. “Active Commuting to School and Association with Physical Activity and Adiposity among US Youth.” Journal of Physical Activity and Health 8(4): 488-495.
³Source: National Center for Safe Routes to School
*Source: McDonald, N., Brown, A., Marchetti, L., Pedroso, M. 2011. “U.S. School Travel 2009: An Assessment of Trends.” American Journal of Preventative Medicine 41(2): 146-151

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