Promoting programs to support walking and active living where people live, learn, work, and play has been identified as a best-practice recommendation for increasing physical activity in communities. The Walk Across Texas! program was developed in 1996 and recognized as a Best Practice Physical Activity program in 2006. To date, over 650,000 participants have started their virtual journey toward better health!
How does it work?
Walk Across Texas! (WAT!) is a FREE eight-week community program delivered through a web-based platform to help people of various ages and abilities achieve and maintain an active lifestyle. WAT! challenges teams to track and log mileage to virtually walk across the state of Texas (832 miles). Through a team-based approach, participants are engaged in friendly competition to promote engagement during the program.
The WAT! program allows for year-round participation, and everyone is encouraged to take part, no matter your fitness level. Select any start date and you will join a community connected through a positive journey towards a common, healthier goal. To further support teams, AgriLife Extension often holds local community challenges with sponsored events and activities.
With over 25 years of successful implementation across Texas, the Walk Across Texas! program has led to an economic benefit of over $2.25 billion dollars! The economic benefit of the Walk Across Texas! Adult program is a measure that uses WAT! program evaluation results, disease risk rates, health care costs, and productivity parameters. Economic benefits are calculated for program participants who moved from self-reported inactive (pre-WAT!) to active (post-WAT!). The final number of participants benefitting is based on a follow-up survey that determined the percentage of those who maintained activity levels 3 – 9 months post program.
By engaging in regular physical activity, this reduces a person’s risk of disease each year of their remaining life. The dollar value of the economic benefit of WAT! is calculated in terms of the projected lifetime health care cost savings and worker productivity gains.
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