Parkways Are Healthy

Researching the obvious, a new report finds that for every one dollar invested in urban river parkways, three dollars in health benefits are realized, as reported by this article in Sacramento Today.

An except.

SACRAMENTO — California’s urban river parkways provide an important prescription to combat epidemic rates of obesity, diabetes, and other threats to public health, according to a report just released by Dr. Richard Jackson, one of America’s foremost authorities on the connections between land use and public health.

Dr. Jackson, who chairs the Environmental Health Sciences department at UCLA and formerly served as California’s State Health Officer and worked at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), says in this first-ever report on the impacts on health of urban river parkways that they can increase the physical and mental health of both adults and children. River parkways are trails and natural areas along rivers and creeks that link homes, parks, workplaces, and schools.

“There is no medicine or treatment that works as well to reduce the negative effects of obesity and related illnesses as physical activity, such as walking, running, and bicycling,” notes Dr. Jackson. “River parkways, particularly in urban areas, are nearly irresistible because they provide the proper infrastructure and an attractive setting for engaging in physical activity. River parkways can benefit physical, mental, community, and environmental health, as well as the overall economic well-being of the population at large.”

River parkways that include trails are smart public investments, notes the report. “Every $1 invested in trails for physical activity leads to nearly $3 in direct medical benefits and health-care savings. Promoting healthier lifestyles not only improves our quality of life, but offers a way to help drive down health care costs and preempt a host of preventable diseases,” the report concludes.

Retrieved August 1, 2014 from

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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