Exploring Transportation’s Role in Reducing Childhood Obesity

The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) recently concluded a three-year-long project to promote changes to community environments in ways that encourage increased physical activity and aid in reversing the U.S. childhood obesity epidemic. The goal of the project was to help ITE’s more than 17,000 members, who include traffic engineers, transportation planners, academicians, and transportation policy leaders, have a positive impact on the level of physical activity, health, and quality of life of individuals in the communities they serve. The work was supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

ITE’s primary goal was to inform, motivate, and advocate for a change in the implementation and behavioral habits of transportation decision makers to create healthier communities. The primary resources that were developed through this effort include sponsored sessions at a series of three of ITE international meetings; participation in local or regional meetings addressing this topic; and development of an information clearinghouse of Web-based articles, references, presentations, links and other relevant materials.

ITE utilized the expertise of a technical advisory committee for this effort as a means to research and collect statistics, policies, resources, Web-based articles, references, technical presentations, links to national events, and partner organizations. As a result, ITE developed an information clearinghouse of materials that are easily available for download. The project’s deliverables are hosted on the ITE Web site at http://www.ite.org/childhoodobesity/default.asp.

ITE will continue to demonstrate a commitment to being a bridge as professional communities tackle the opportunities and challenges of the nexus between transportation and health. A more detailed article about the project is feature in the January 2013 ITE Journal.