HARRISBURG – The American Heart Association joined with walking and bicycling enthusiasts, local planning officers and other key partners at the state capitol in support of comprehensive transportation funding that includes a first-ever investment in walking and bicycling initiatives.
For over two years, the American Heart Association has been an active participant in the Keystone Transportation funding coalition and, most recently, Walk and Ride PA (www.walkandridepa.org), an initiative to expand Pennsylvania’s walking and biking pathways to improve the commonwealth’s economy, environment, public health and roadway safety.
“We’ve built a society that relies too much on cars to take us from one place to another, in addition to television, technology and video games to preoccupy our time,” said Jen Ebersole, Pennsylvania government relations director for the American Heart Association. “As a result, too many people lead sedentary lifestyles, putting them at roughly twice the risk of having heart attacks, heart surgeries, strokes or other cardiovascular events compared to those who are more active.”
The prevalence of those who are obese in Pennsylvania has risen to 34 percent. Even worse among our children, 65 percent of adolescents do not get the recommended amount of daily physical activity. Kids walk to school less often because communities are not designed to provide safe pathways for them to do so.
“In order to save our children from being the first generation not to outlive their parents, Pennsylvania must look at common sense and cost-effective approaches to address the obesity epidemic that are readily accessible in our everyday lives,” said Ebersole. “Investing in walking and bicycling initiatives – such as Safe Routes to School – as part of larger transportation projects can deliver accessible and safe pathways for adults and children alike to get daily physical activity that is so desperately needed.”
Last week, the Pennsylvania Senate overwhelmingly passed Senate Bill 1, which includes language to recognize walking and bicycling as modes of transportation and a first-time investment in walking and bicycling initiatives. The measure now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
“The American Heart Association is very pleased that the Senate recognized walking and bicycling as important policies to include as part of a comprehensive transportation funding,” said Ebersole. “Now, our focus turns to the House of Representatives where we hope they see the benefits of keeping these provisions in the bill.”
For more information about the American Heart Association’s grassroots advocacy efforts, visit www.yourethecure.org.
About the American Heart Association
Founded in 1924, the American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke. To help prevent, treat and defeat these diseases — America’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers — it funds cutting-edge research, conduct lifesaving public and professional educational programs, and advocate to protect public health. For more information about the American Heart Association, visit www.heart.org.