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Am J Prev Med. 2009 Dec;37(6 Suppl 2):S329-35. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2009.09.004.

Project U-Turn: increasing active transportation in Jackson, Michigan.

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  • 1Fitness Council of Jackson, City of Jackson, Jackson, Michigan, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Jackson, Michigan, is a medium-sized city suffering from a bad economy and obesity-related health issues. Nearly 20% of the 36,000 residents live below the poverty line. It is a relatively young city (median age of 30 years) with a mixed ethnicity (20% black, 73% white, 4% Hispanic). The city offers many structured, active recreational opportunities, but has not integrated physical activity into daily life.

INTERVENTION:

Project U-Turn aimed to increase active transportation (e.g., biking, walking, and transit use) through an integrated approach to Active Living by Design's community action model and the Michigan Safe Routes to School model. Resources were focused on active living promotions and programs; partnership meetings were the source of changes in policy and physical projects. Each initiative was designed to introduce each of the 5Ps (preparation, promotion, programs, policy, and physical projects) to build support for the partnership's overall work.

RESULTS:

The partnership collected snapshot data of community walking and biking behavior, percentage of students walking to school, participation in events and programs, and new physical projects. Jackson saw a vast improvement in physical infrastructure and policy and a related increase in walking and biking in the community.

LESSONS LEARNED:

The project engaged in purposeful partnership building to implement effective programs and promotions that built support for policy and physical projects. Limited resources were best used by encouraging partners to contribute and coordinate activities using existing staff, funding, and resources.

CONCLUSIONS:

Jackson has seen a shift toward awareness of the benefits of active living on community health, economic development, and environmental awareness.

PMID:
19944932
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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