With funding support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Active Living Partnership
of Columbia, Missouri, sought to make routine physical activity more commonplace in
the community through behavioral and environmental change strategies.
The Active Living by Design 5P model (partnerships, promotions, programs, policy changes,
and physical projects) was modified to create two mutually reinforcing components.
Programs and promotions (e.g., Walking School Bus) were implemented to influence individual
behaviors and generate public policy advocates. Policy changes, such as activity-friendly
street design standards, created safe and attractive places for physical activity
programs. A strong, diverse community partnership supported all efforts.
Key project successes were a citywide social marketing program; the Walking School
Bus program, which grew rapidly; and policy campaigns resulting in improved street
design standards and a voter-approved $3.5 million sales tax for sidewalks around
schools. Notable challenges included programs targeting teenagers and efforts to increase
physical activity through self-reported activity logging.
The most important lesson was to implement multiple strategies because programs can
leverage policy successes, and new policies often lead to more funding for infrastructure.
Other lessons learned were to build early successes by reaching first for the “low-hanging
fruit” (e.g., elementary-age children rather than teenagers) and to have a flexible
plan to take advantage of unexpected opportunities (e.g., a new, influential partner
with a specific interest).
A modified 5P model was tested and found to be an effective framework for achieving
behavioral and environmental changes that promote healthy, active lifestyles in the