On May 14, 2014, the Medical Officers of Health for Toronto, Peel Region, Simcoe Muskoka and Hamilton released a report titled Improving Health by Design in the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area (GTHA).
This important report calls on governments to make active transportation and public transit a top priority in city planning. "We have built our communities around the automobile and this approach poses a serious risk to public health," says Dr. David Mowat, Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Peel.
TCAT Director Nancy Smith Lea, attended the press conference at Union Station and was enthusiastic in her support: "This report is a breath of fresh air especially for those of us who have been working on this issue for many years. We have first-hand experience of walking and biking in this region and know full well the range of benefits that active transportation provides us. Unfortunately we can also speak to just how far we still need to go in order to ensure that our streets are not only safer, but welcoming for all ages and abilities. Dr. Mowat [recently featured in TCAT's It's Your Move] has it right when he says the healthy choice must become the easy choice."
According to the report, physical activity and obesity cost the GTHA $4 billion each year. If we invested the $2 billion dollars per year that's needed for The Big Move we would prevent 338 premature deaths per year, with an associated economic benefit of $2.2 billion. Invest $2 billion and save $2.2 billion. Sounds like a no-brainer!