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As local governments seek to plan and design healthy communities, they will need to take extra steps to ensure that the most vulnerable populations—those isolated by their level of income, ethnic and racial background, age, ability, or gender—have access to the same choices and opportunities for healthy lifestyles as the population at large.
This guide serves two main purposes. First, it seeks to provide local government managers, department heads, and staff with a basic understanding of the connections between active living and social equity. Second, it offers a toolbox of local government strategies for addressing these issues. In doing so, it provides examples of how some communities have gone about tying together active living and equity. It also identifies strategies for engaging key partners from within local government and from the community in local active living initiatives. Finally, this guide directs local governments to additional resources—written materials, contacts, and funding sources—for further assistance.
While linking active living and social equity is an important issue for communities of all sizes and characteristics, no community is entirely alike and there exists no single, most appropriate course of action. As such, this guide identifies a sampling of needs, challenges, and opportunities that local governments are likely to find in their community. It also highlights a set of strategies that vary in scope and complexity—from low-cost, short-term interventions to long-term, more resource-intensive strategies.