For Immediate Release
October 16, 2007

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461


Summit Helps Kansas Communities Become Healthier and More Physically Active

The Kansas Department of Health & Environment (KDHE), Kansas Recreation and Parks Association, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks and Kansas Department of Transportation are hosting a two-day Built Environment and Trails Summit on October 18 and 19.

The summit, being held at the Holiday Inn Holidome and Convention Center at 200 MacDonald Drive in Lawrence, will explore how to change the built environment to increase opportunities for physical activity. The built environment refers to the man-made surroundings that provide the setting for human activity, ranging from large-scale civic surroundings to personal places.

Summit discussions and hands-on training will include:

The Built Environment and Trails Summit is designed to attract community planners, engineers, city council members, local health departments, biking and walking coalitions, park and recreation personnel, and trail and community advocates. To see a summit brochure, visit www.kdheks.gov/bhp/healthy_ks_comm/.

Research shows physical activity improves quality of life and can prevent or ease the symptoms of many chronic diseases including hypertension, stroke, arthritis and diabetes. Walking has been shown to increase longevity, reduce stress, improve complexion, manage weight and reduce hypertension.

Only 49 percent of Kansans meet the physical activity recommendation of 30 minutes per day at least five days a week. Surveys conducted in 2006 found 26 percent of Kansas adults were obese. Health, obesity and air quality improve dramatically when more people walk or bike instead of drive.

On an economic note, houses within neighborhoods built to promote physical activity on average sell for 11 percent more than other homes.

The summit supports the goals of the Governor’s Council on Fitness and Governor’s HealthyKansas initiative to encourage Kansans to get more physical activity in their daily lives. For more information about HealthyKansas visit: www.healthykansas.org.