The newsletter of the Active Transportation Alliance

Vol. 2, Issue 8 - September 2009


Building a healthier Chicago one step at a time

It’s a no-brainer: biking and walking make us feel good, and it’s good for us too.

Building a Healthier Chicago is a collaborative initiative that works with more than 75 stakeholders, including the Active Transportation Alliance, to make biking and walking (among many other healthful habits) easier for Chicagoans.

The partnership between Building a Healthier Chicago and Active Trans is helping to make a real impact in communities throughout Chicagoland. Through programs like Walk Across Illinois and events like Open Streets, Active Transportation Alliance and Building a Healthier Chicago are collaborating to get Chicago moving towards better health.

“Physical activity is an important component of a healthy lifestyle,” says Assistant Surgeon General James M. Galloway, M.D., co-founder of Building a Healthier Chicago. “Biking—especially a daily action such as biking to work—helps introduce physical activity into our daily routine, turning an everyday activity into a physical activity. Depending on the distance involved, one day of commuting by bike can burn over 750 calories, about the equivalent of running for over an hour.”

Health studies consistently reveal s the link between healthy communities and active transportation. A study in Preventive Medicine reports that about half of all car trips in the United States are less than 5 miles. That’s less than a 30-minute bike ride!

Investing in public transit has its health benefits as well. Studies show that people who use public transit tend to reach the recommended amount of physical activity each day. Cutting those short car trips leads to more exercise, fewer carbons emissions and a healthier, more vibrant city.

Building a Healthier Chicago works with its stakeholders, including Active Trans, to increase physical activity, improve healthy eating, and prevent, detect and control high blood pressure by improving the environments where Chicagoans live, work, eat, play, pray and learn.

Building a Healthier Chicago was founded in February 2008 by the Chicago Department of Public Health, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Chicago office, and the American Medical Association, the collaborative has stakeholders from the non-profit, business, education, medical and government sectors. Find out more at

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