Health Officials Release Guidebooks to Keep People Active

The Indiana State Department of Health’s Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity (DNPA) has released its Active Living Guidebook. Created in collaboration with Health by Design, the guidebook will help community leaders and advocates create more active communities throughout the state.

From 2014 to 2018, DNPA worked with Purdue Extension and Health by Design to conduct 46 active living workshops in communities across Indiana. More than 1,800 participants, including city planners and engineers, public health professionals, school administrators and community leaders, attended the workshops and learned how to improve their communities’ infrastructure so residents have more opportunity to be active.

“Being physically active provides numerous health benefits, including a lower risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, some cancers and depression. We also know it can improve your mood and cognition and lead to better grades for children in school,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, MD, FACOG. “Having places to safely walk, bike and be active in our communities helps all Hoosiers stay healthy.”

According to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, approximately 33 percent of adults in Indiana had obesity in 2017 and less than half met the recommendations for moderate physical activity that year.

The guidebook provides a summary of the active living workshop process, as well as recommendations and examples of success stories, such as a project in Fort Wayne that made an intersection safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The second edition of the Safe Routes to School Guidebook, which helps communities improve the safety of children who bike or walk to school by building new sidewalks, improving pedestrian crossings and teaching children safe walking and biking skills, has also been released. This updated version will help communities and schools identify, seek funding for, conduct and evaluate Safe Routes to School projects.

Both guidebooks can be found on ISDH’s website at

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