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Getting Scotland Walking Briefing

Sep 2022

Though the significance and benefits of walking are increasingly recognized in policy, our sedentary lives, obesogenic environment, car-dominated transport system, issues of safety in public spaces, and socio-economic inequalities all contribute to lower-than-optimal levels of physical activity and walking in Scotland.

Based on a rapid review of policy and evidence, the report describes walking trends in Scotland, the health and societal benefits of walking, the relevant policy context, issues that discourage walking, and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on walking.

It outlines the following key points:

  • Walking remains an important sustainable mode of transport despite sharp historic declines.
  • Walking provides multiple health, social, and environmental benefits in our lives.
  • There are significant inequalities in who walks in Scotland.
  • Considerable health benefits would result from tackling inequalities in walking.
  • National policies strongly support investing in projects to support walking.
  • Enhanced effort is needed at local and national levels to increase walking in Scotland.
  • More work is needed to evaluate investments that aim to boost walking.

This report also offers recommendations on how to increase walking levels in Scotland and highlights areas where further research, data, and evidence are needed.

View an accompanying infographic here.

Getting Scotland Walking The case for action

pdf | 12MB


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