Increasing Opportunities for Trail Use to Promote Physical Activity and Health Among Underserved Youth
Step it Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities highlights promoting program and policies to support walking through creation of or enhanced access to places for walking with informational outreach, social support, individually adapted health behavior changes programs, and community-wide campaigns. The Increasing Opportunities for Trail Use to Promote Physical Activity and Health Among Underserved Youth project aims to identify what is known about the benefits of trail use, effective interventions or programs to promote trail use among underserved youth, and the facilitators and barriers related to trail use as a health-enhancing behavior among youth.
In October 2020, NCCOR published Identification of Effective Programs to Improve Access to and Use of Trails among Youth from Under-Resourced Communities: A Review in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The scientific review identified evaluated programs and policies that effectively promote and increase the use of trails among youth, especially those from under-resourced neighborhoods and communities.
In February 2021, NCCOR released a companion program brief titled, “Increasing the Health and Physical Activity of Youth from Under-Resourced Communities through Trail Programs.” The companion brief is based on a review of gray literature sources (e.g., websites, government or organizational reports, success stories) to identify programs promoting trail use among youth that are accompanied by process or outcome evaluation data. We identified nine U.S.-based programs promoting trail use among youth. The programs include a variety of programs on walking and hiking, overnight camping, and biking on trails. The brief is ideal for public health practitioners as it outlines strengths including programs’ reach and scalability, focus on under-resourced communities, and evaluations and future considerations for improving programs and youth trail use in general.