UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine; UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center

Publication Date


Document Type



Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Environmental Public Health | Health Policy | Health Services Research | Infrastructure | Preventive Medicine | Public Health Education and Promotion | Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration | Transportation


INTRODUCTION: Changing the built environment to promote active lifestyles requires collaboration among diverse sectors. Multisectoral collaborative groups in the United States promote active lifestyles through environmental and policy changes. The objective of this study was to examine the characteristics of these collaborative groups and the extent to which they have achieved change.

METHODS: We identified, recruited, and interviewed the coordinators of active living collaborative groups in the United States. We used descriptive statistics to characterize groups by composition, stakeholder engagement, and the extent of environmental and policy change in 8 strategic areas.

RESULTS: Fifty-nine groups from 22 states participated in the study. Most groups had a diverse set of partners and used a range of activities to advance their agendas. Most groups achieved some form of environmental or policy change. On average, groups reported working on 5 strategy areas; parks and recreation (86%) and Safe Routes to School (85%) were named most frequently. More than half of groups reported their environmental initiatives as either in progress or completed. Groups reported the most success in changing policy for public plazas, street improvements, streetscaping, and parks, open space, and recreation. Complete Streets policy and zoning ordinances were the most frequently cited policy types. Engaging in media activities and the policy-making process in addition to engaging stakeholders appear to influence success in achieving change.

CONCLUSION: Although many groups successfully worked on parks and recreation improvements, opportunities remain in other areas, including transit and infill and redevelopment. Additional time and resources may be critical to realizing these types of changes.


built environment, active lifestyles, health promotion, policy

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DOI of Published Version



Prev Chronic Dis. 2013;10:E19. doi: 10.5888/pcd10.120162. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Preventing chronic disease

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID