The recreation path in Rouses Point
We’re buoyed by the results of a national poll released last week that reveals a connection between communities built for active living and the health of their residents.
According to Gallup, communities with the greatest investment in supporting active lifestyles yield residents who do “significantly better” in key aspects of well-being.
The polling organization surveyed 48 communities nationwide. Residents in the five highest-ranked active living communities — including Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C. — have on average significantly lower obesity and diabetes rates.
Their blood pressure is lower. So are their cholesterol levels and rates of depression.
Residents also report better exercise habits and lower levels of smoking than those living in communities with comparatively little active living infrastructure — things like parks, trails, bike paths and public transportation networks.
While the cities surveyed are all urban areas, our very own small towns are making great strides in catching up with their more cosmopolitan counterparts.
In fact, our North Country communities are actually at the forefront of this shift towards more healthy lifestyles as a result of the strategies pursued by our governmental agencies and their nonprofit counterparts.
Essex County, for instance, recently wrapped up a five-year project designed to install healthy infrastructure in each town, including public gardens, walking paths, playgrounds and exercise equipment.
Their hard work has been ensured to continue for the next half-decade through a new partnership with Clinton County that aims to promote healthy eating and daily exercise in schools and communities, and to implement Complete Streets plans, or blueprints designed to improve walkability.
Saranac River Trail in Plattsburgh
At the same time, walking trails and fitness projects are blossoming in towns across Clinton County, from athletic efforts in Plattsburgh to a proposed river trail project in Saranac.
And in Warren County, a bike trail from Lake George to Glens Falls has proven to be ever-popular.
These folks deserve to be commended for their foresight and dedication to public health.
The report shows that these developments are not mere fanciful concepts, but are projects that have resulted in tangible and concrete changes for the general public.
But, as the poll notes, continued success can only be possible with the support of the entire community, from schools to retail outlets, employers and restaurants.
That’s already happening here in the North Country, and we never fail to be amazed by the partnerships and collaborations we see moving forward on a daily basis.
So let’s all pitch in to ensure our local communities remain at the forefront of this trend.
The Sun Community News Editorial Board is comprised of Dan Alexander, John Gereau and Pete DeMola. We want to hear from you. What do you think of our new look? Drop us a line on our new Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter, to share your thoughts.