Wisconsin Active Together fosters health through physical activity

Wisconsin Active Together

Where we live impacts our wellness, and 14 newly-named Wisconsin Active Together Communities are being recognized for their efforts to advance strategies for safe places to walk, bike, and be active and their pledge to do even more.

Wisconsin Active Together is a program initiated at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health as part of a state-wide Obesity Prevention Initiative funded by the Wisconsin Partnership Program at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. The effort beings together numerous state agencies, partners, and non-profits through the healthTIDE network’s Active Communities Team.

“We began this program in 2017 as a part of our larger Obesity Prevention Initiative in partnership with state agencies and organizations and we are now reaching 1.4 million Wisconsinites across the state,” said Vince Cryns, MD, professor and head, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. Dr. Cryns serves as principal investigator for the Obesity Prevention Initiative, which includes healthTIDE. 

“We know even the smallest changes to the landscape in promoting physical activity can add up to creating lasting changes for everyone’s benefit.” 

Partners include the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, and Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative. The coalition of entities developed Wisconsin Active Together to recognize local communities for their progress and connect municipalities to resources, training, and a peer network of experts. 

“It’s an opportunity to work locally while being part of something larger happening across the state,” said Jennifer (Jen) Walker, outreach specialist, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism and healthTIDE Active Communities team lead. 

“We want to celebrate local progress in promoting opportunities to increase physical activity, community design that provides new recreational spaces, and work that makes it easier for residents to walk and bike more.”

By fostering a thriving network of peers supported by community-academic partnerships, the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health seeks to deepen statewide and local collaboration to promote health. Communities are encouraged to apply to join the Wisconsin Active Together program, which is continuing to accept applications. 

The latest Wisconsin Active Together Communities include:

  • City of Sun Prairie
  • Cambridge and surrounding area
  • Jackson County
  • City of Sheboygan
  • Walworth County
  • Fort Atkinson
  • Verona
  • Middleton
  • Fitchburg
  • Oregon and surrounding area 
  • The East Central Regional Area Planning Commission
  • Manitowoc County
  • Whitewater
  • Greater Green Bay region

Visit Wisconsin Active Together to see all named communities, the supporting partners, and to learn more about the community application process.

Visit the Obesity Prevention Initiative website to see the entire project family for this effort, which includes healthTIDE, the Wisconsin Health Atlas, Mobilize for Health, Skill Shares for Health, and Catalyst Meetings.

- Article contributed by Robert Fontella, university relations specialist, Obesity Prevention Initiative.