The state of active living in Texas : understanding collaboration and capacity building
This report addresses three important issues around active living and how planning, health and governmental agencies are addressing active living in their spheres of influence. Initially the report uses a literature review to determine if research shows that characteristics of the physical environment influence active lifestyle choices and behaviors. This review also includes whether state and local governments and non-profit agencies are incorporating active lifestyle goals in important planning and policy decisions affecting the local physical and natural environment. The literature review supports links between the physical environment and active living but does not establish a causal link. Regarding the question of whether state and local governments and non-profit agencies are incorporating active lifestyle goals in important planning and policy decisions, the research reveals that there is a low level of inclusion of health goals within planning efforts. The body of work in this report is focused on understanding the level of knowledge and the degree of cooperation among local actors around active living issues in Texas. The report explores this question through a survey targeted at public and non-profit organizations that have the potential to influence conditions supporting active lifestyles in Texas communities. While this survey and results focus on Texas communities, given the breadth of the responses, the results are likely applicable outside Texas. The research found collaboration around active living in Texas was widespread among the departments and organizations represented by the survey. Many communities have implemented active living programs or projects, however, most communities have not completed active living assessments to prioritize active living needs. Funding was the most important factor in addressing barriers to active living. Other important factors in addressing these barriers included education, sample policies and programs, best practices and case studies, and access to local experts and community groups. Strong community support and local government leadership were the most important factors in creating an environment that supports active learning.