Healthy Living

HEALTHY PLACES LEAD TO HEALTHY PEOPLE

Physical activity and active play are an essential part of being healthy but these behaviors are often dependent upon environmental supports such as sidewalks, safe places to bike and accessible parks, trails and open space.  From supporting North Carolina’s Statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian plan in partnership with the NC Department of Transportation to investing in a connected network of trails in collaboration with the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, we work with partner organizations to ensure that everyone can access places to be active and play.

Strategy: Active Places

To achieve long term change around healthy environments, it is critical to design those places and spaces as a core elements of every community. To support the creation of more active spaces for North Carolinians, our strategy focuses on planning, promotion, and consumer demand for places and spaces for physical activity. Our investments have ranged from local to statewide efforts on projects such as system-wide comprehensive parks and recreation plans, health impact assessments and bicycle and pedestrian plans.  Additionally, we recognize that North Carolina has a bounty of resources in our local, state and national parks, so we have supported innovative programming to get individuals out and active on existing trails, while also working with parks and recreation and health professionals to  raise the visibility of parks, trails, and open space as critical factors for community health.

Grantee Spotlights

Kids in Parks

Kids in Parks started their first trail on August 29, 2009 at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center in Asheville, North Carolina. Five years ago, the program developed from an idea by North Carolina pediatrician Olson Huff to get kids outside and moving on a few select trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Believing this program could become a nationwide model, we invested in its initial funding, evaluation and expansion. There are now 100 TRACK Trails in seven states plus the District of Columbia. There will be 75 TRACK Trails in 50 North Carolina counties by the end of 2014 with the goal of at least one TRACK trail in all 100 counties by the end of 2017. These low cost trails offer families a chance to unplug their children and have them experience nature and a dose of physical activity on a regular basis. 

NCDOT WalkBike NC

NCDOT launched this project to improve walking and bicycling conditions statewide and develop a vision for the future of bicycling and walking in North Carolina. We assisted in funding a health impact assessment of the plan and efforts to disseminate the plan across the state. WalkBikeNC is North Carolina’s first statewide master plan to define a vision, goals and strategies for improving walking and bicycling for residents and visitors.  This plan identifies current conditions for walking and bicycling in North Carolina and serves as a guide for state agencies, local governments, and private sector interests to develop a transportation system that safely and efficiently accommodates walking and bicycling.

North Carolina Recreation and Park Association Wellness Initiative

We worked with the North Carolina Recreation and Park Association to to empower parks and recreation agencies in North Carolina to create healthy communities through the development of programs, policies, and infrastructure that support healthy eating and physical activity. They created a toolkit and webinar series to assist parks and recreation agencies and community members across the state to change policies and programs in order to promote healthy eating and physical activity.