State and local policies, if accompanied by adequate funding, can help build healthy schools and communities that offer sidewalks, open space and ample opportunity for physical activity, according to research published recently in a special issue of the Journal of Public Health Policy. But without such directives and dollars, obstacles in too many communities discourage outdoor play and exercise-and contribute to rising rates of obesity.

The studies presented in the special issue suggest capital projects that states might pursue through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which Congress passed on Saturday and President Obama plans to sign today. The act includes $27.5 billion for road modernization and requires that states allocate three percent of their share for Transportation Enhancements, which could include construction of walkways, bicycle paths and bike lanes that can help prevent obesity.



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