Cities Support U.S. Surgeon General’s Call to Action to “Step it Up” and Improve Walking and Walkable Communities

Press Release
Press Release

WASHINGTON - The National League of Cities (NLC) applauds U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy for issuing Step It Up! The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities today. This call to action marks a historic step in ensuring that Americans of all ages and abilities have access to safe and convenient opportunities to be active and move safely throughout their communities. The Surgeon General's call to action comes as NLC has been working with mayors, city councilmembers and other city leaders to promote walking and expand walkable communities for their residents.

"Everyone deserves to have a safe place to walk or wheelchair roll. But in too many of our communities, that is not the reality," said Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, the 19th U.S. Surgeon General. "We know that an active lifestyle is critical to achieving good overall health. And walking is a simple, effective and affordable way to build physical activity into our lives. That is why we need to step it up as a country ensuring that everyone can choose to walk in their own communities."

The call to action provides actionable steps that city leaders can take to improve their city's walkability and wheelchair accessibility. The report also identifies opportunities and actions that multiple sectors, including health care, education and industry can take to support these efforts.

"We applaud the Surgeon General's release of Step It Up! The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities," said National League of Cities President Ralph Becker, mayor, Salt Lake City, Utah. "Local leaders know firsthand the benefits to residents, businesses and the local economy when people can move safely throughout their city."

Studies show that when cities implement design solutions to promote walkable communities and active transportation, such as sidewalks, curb cuts and more green spaces, they have greater potential to reap significant public health, economic, environmental and social benefits. These benefits can include improved health of residents and an increase in property values, tourism and economic investment. Walking also provides opportunities for people to build stronger relationships with neighbors and supports stronger overall community bonds among residents.
As city leaders wrestle with issues of growing income inequality and skills gaps, improving walkability is another tool that leaders can use to expand opportunity and foster greater equity and inclusion for all residents. Community design and development that supports walking can help connect low-income communities and communities of color to jobs, housing, education and healthy food options.

NLC looks forward to working with city leaders and continuing to support their efforts to promote walkable communities across the nation. "For years, cities have been on the front lines, taking action to improve the safety, health and well-being of our residents. This call to action provides city leaders with additional strategies and approaches to create safe, walkable communities and reduce disparities in the nation's cities and towns," said Mayor Becker.

Follow NLC on Twitter at @leagueofcities and the Surgeon General at @Surgeon_General, and join the conversation about the call to action using the hashtag #StepItUp.


The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.

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