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Chronic Disease Prevention
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Active Communities:  Active By Design & Walkable Places

Thurston County is trying to increase levels of physical activity among local residents. Walking is one of the easiest ways to be moderately physically active. Health professionals recommend engaging in moderate physical activity for 30 minutes a day, at least 10 minutes at a time, 5 or more days per week.

If more people walked each day, for exercise, commuting, errands or short trips in town, or even a stroll for fun, our community would be on the path to better health. Walking can reduce or delay the onset of life threatening chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.

Some of the reasons people are not getting enough regular physical activity in Thurston County are the environments where people live or work and the walking conditions in neighborhoods.

What is Thurston County Public Health Doing?

Thurston County partners with the Community Design Action Team of Thurston Thrives, including local and regional government members and area non-profits some of which are listed in the right column, to identify ways to foster active community environments through land use and community design changes. This effort to boost activity works on policy changes and programs to improve connectedness and places, making our community more walkable.

Thurston County has worked with neighborhoods to conduct walkability assessments around the county, through the "Walkable Places Project." The walkability assessment gathers and organizes data that can be used to prioritize projects identifying issues in the neighborhood area that impede or promote physical activity. It also gets people out walking, learning about their neighborhood, and taking action to make it a more walkable place. Thurston County Public Health and Social Services also works with local partners on Safe Routes to Schools projects to encourage more walking and bicycling to school.

These projects follow recommended approaches in the Washington State Department of Health’s Physical Activity plan and are consistent with the recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for evidence-based practice to increase physical activity.  To find out more about walkability assessments and the active communities efforts in general, please contact us at (360) 867-2513.

The Evidence

Reducing sedentary behavior and increasing moderate physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes and also helps prevent obesity. 

Research has shown that residents in highly walkable neighborhoods engage in as much as 70 more minutes per week of physical activity when compared to residents living in less walkable neighborhoods.

In 2005, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey completed in Thurston County with adults (age 18+) showed that 54% of adults did not achieve the recommended amount of daily moderate physical activity (around 94,500 adults).

Walkable Places Project Partners

Eastside Neighborhood Association Grand Mound Rochester Park Association
Northeast Neighborhood Association Rochester Organization of Families
South Westside Olympia Neighborhood Association Yelm Community Schools


Thank You Community Partners!

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This page last updated: 04/29/17