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Feature Story

Kaiser Permanente’s Walking Festivities Create a Veritable Walktoberfest

September 26, 2013

TOPICS: Community Benefit | REGIONS: National | KEYWORDS: Every Body Walk!, walking

Two women walking in a city with a small girl who is running and holding the leash of a golden retriever dog

With the cooler, pleasant days of autumn upon us, October is shaping up to be a perfect time to infuse more walking into the day. In that spirit, Kaiser Permanente is celebrating this month with events and offerings that highlight the many ways that walking and walkability are vital pathways to health.

The 2013 Walking Summit
On Oct. 1–3, walking enthusiasts, activists and leaders will be gathering in Washington, D.C.  for the 2013 Walking Summit, hosted by Kaiser Permanente and the Every Body Walk! Collaborative. The Summit will offer an opportunity for Every Body Walk! partners and nonprofit, civic and business leaders  to share news and ideas about how to boost the prevalence of walking and increase community walkability.

Every Body Walk

The Summit will be a unique opportunity for advocates and others to discuss how to build capacity, develop strategies, increase momentum and showcase best practices that can lead to greater investments in walking and walkability. Featured speakers include US Surgeons General Regina Benjamin (2009-2013) and Boris Lushniak (acting); the mayor of Washington D.C., Vincent Gray; U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx; Director of the Washington D.C. Office of Planning, Harriet Tregoning; New York Times bestselling author, Jonah Berger; and Kaiser Permanente Chairman George Halvorson.

Walking documentary: A Walking Revolution
The countdown is on for the release of The Walking Revolution, a documentary film about walking that aims to get people moving.

The 30-minute film touches on what makes communities walkable and what that means for the environment and the economy. Organized in five chapters roughly six minutes each in length, the documentary tackles:

  • The impact of inactivity
  • Eliminating walking from our culture
  • The evolution of man and walking
  • Walking to better health
  • Building walkable communities

The two-minute trailer for The Walking Revolution will be shown at the Walking Summit. The film will be publicly released on Oct. 8, 2013, when it will be available for streaming for free online at Every Body Walk!

Surveying public opinions around walking
How do American’s feel about walking and how much walking are they doing? Kaiser Permanente wanted to find out. Results from a recent survey commissioned with GfK Custom Research reveal some interesting findings. Results will be made public in early October.

International Walk to School Day
Each year in October, Kaiser Permanente joins forces with Safe Routes to School and our many school and community partners to celebrate International Walk to School Day across the country. Schools and communities use Walk to School Day as the first step to change community culture and to create options for getting around that are more inviting for everyone, both young and old.

This year, Walk to School Day is Wednesday, Oct. 9 and Kaiser Permanente encourages everyone to use the day as a way to start building healthy habits by walking or bicycling with a child or young adult as they make their way to or from school. Join your neighbors and form a “walking school bus” with other parents and young people. Don’t live close enough to school to make the trip by foot? Consider parking a short distance from school and walking the last mile together with your child.

Fire Up Your Feet!

Safe Routes to School National  Partnership

Kaiser Permanente Thriving Schools

National PTA

Fire Up Your Feet
While you’re in the spirit of walking with your child to school, why not help your school build health all around by signing up for Fire Up Your Feet.

Fire Up Your Feet is a core program of Safe Routes to School National Partnership available to any elementary and middle school (grades K-8) nationally. Made possible in partnership with Kaiser Permanente Thriving Schools, this program offers free resources, an online activity tracker, a school fundraising organizer, and more, all aimed at increasing physical activity before, during and after school for students, parents, school staff and teachers. The National PTA is Kaiser Permanente’s family engagement partner.

This fall, elementary and middle schools located in Kaiser Permanente’s eight regions nationwide are encouraged to participate in the Fire Up Your Feet Challenge Campaign. Families, school staff and teachers can sign up and compete for challenge awards for their school. Each campaign includes a four-week activity-tracking period followed by a two-week conclusion. Challenge awards will be rewarded to top participating schools during each campaign. Schools are encouraged to use these funds to improve the health and wellness at their school.

Webinars and additional information are available at

These “Walktober” events are just a handful of the wide array of clinical and community-based efforts that Kaiser Permanente is engaged in to promote walking. Walking a minimum of 30 minutes a day, five days a week can help address chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and depression that contribute to the escalating cost of health care.

Walking is a simple, easy activity that most anyone can do. Make this October the start of a year-round celebration of walking and the many benefits it brings.