Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity: Active Community Initiatives

The term "Active Community" can be applied to a number of initiatives that increase access to recreational facilities and allow for alternative modes of transportation. An example of an access issue would be joint use agreements to allow for facility use by many parties. Examples of providing for alternative modes of transportation include construction of bike trails or sidewalks, or setting up a Safe Routes to School program. In any case, active environments could mean many things, and identifying key partners early on will increase the chances of success.

Active Community Toolkit

Listed below are information and references to address physical activity in the community setting.

Active Community Toolkit

The many aspects of an active community initiative are incorporated within the Active Community (AC) Toolkit P-00036. (PDF)

This PDF version of the toolkit has live hyperlinks and navigation to allow you to move between sections and access the many external resource links.

An alternative print-friendly version, Active Community Toolkit, P-00036-print (PDF), has also been provided.




Wisconsin Active Together

Wisconsin Active Together logo

Wisconsin Active Together recognizes communities around the state for their efforts to promote active lifestyles and places to be active.

Click on the interactive map to find out which communities have been recognized.

Use the Wisconsin Active Together website to find out more about the application process and details about what the recognized communities have done to be listed as a Wisconsin Active Together community.


Walkable Communities Media Advocacy Toolkit

Media Kit Cover


Use the Walkable Communities Media Advocacy Toolkit, P-01282 (PDF) to guide your work with media in the promotion of Walkable Communities in Wisconsin.

The kit contains a sample news release, letter to the editor, media alert and talent release that you can modify to fit your community.


Surgeon General's Call to Action on Walking

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy recently issued a “Call to Action” to encourage Americans of all ages and abilities to walk more and to encourage communities to create safe, accessible places for people to walk and wheelchair roll. The Step It Up! Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities offers strategies for increasing walking and walkable communities for people of all ages and abilities.

Wisconsin Active Communities Alliance

Wisconsin Active Communities Alliance - The Alliance is a group of local coordinators, planners and advocates working to create active communities. Its website contains a simple framework to assist public health planners on their journey to build a more active community and provides fact sheets and other materials for key strategies.

Wisconsin Active Communities Alliance Success Stories - A series of seven success stories on how local communities implemented active community initiatives.

Small Town and Rural Active Community Strategies

Stories from Small Towns (PDF) - America paves the way for connected citizens and good health. Seven small town stories about how they increased opportunities to be active.

Stories from Small Towns II (PDF) - This resource highlights eight U.S. towns that have made changes so people can walk and bike more freely. The stories demonstrate that structural changes to make walking easier can be carried out in America’s thousands of small towns and not just its big cities.

Promoting Active Living in Rural Communities (PDF) - This brief summarizes current research on elements of the rural built environment that may be related to obesity or physical activity. The research can be used in planning rural activities.

Small Town and Rural Multimodal Networks (PDF) - This document is intended to be a resource for transportation practitioners in small towns and rural communities. It applies existing national design guidelines in a rural setting and highlights small town and rural case studies.

Complete Streets Work in Rural Communities (PDF) - By planning, designing, and constructing Complete Streets, communities of all sizes are able to provide the quality access to jobs, health care, shops, and schools their residents deserve, while also achieving greater economic, environmental, and public health benefits.

State Plan Cover

See what's in the 2013-2018 Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity State Plan for Active Communities.

Other Resources

Walk/Bike Audit Tool

Wisconsin Active Community Audit Tool, P-00399 (PDF) - The benefits of walking and bicycling include improved health, cleaner air, and more social interaction in the community. Walking and bicycling audits can help identify key intersections or areas where physical and environmental changes could make a big difference in improving opportunities to be more physically active. This tool can guide you on what to look for in selecting and evaluating site(s).

Other Materials

Environment – Tips and tools on how to create a good environment for physical activity, particularly walking and biking.

Last Revised: December 2, 2019