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Medical News & Perspectives
July 26, 2016

As Walking Movement Grows, Neighborhood Walkability Gains Attention

JAMA. 2016;316(4):382-383. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.7755

David Sabgir, MD, first started encouraging his patients to walk when he was a medical student in the mid-’90s. But by 2004, it was clear to the cardiologist that his longstanding advice wasn’t working. “[It] took me 9 years to realize it was ineffective for me to just tell or even beg them [to walk],” he said.

Patients would agree to start walking regularly, but when they came back to his Columbus, Ohio, office 6 months later for their follow-ups, they admitted that they hadn’t stuck with it. Frustrated and grasping at straws, he asked some patients if they would join him and his family for a walk in a local park. A few months later, in April 2005, roughly 100 patients and community members showed up for his first stroll. He called it Walk with a Doc. “It was evident early on that we had stumbled onto something big that could affect millions of lives,” he said. “We knew we had to make it replicable across the country and beyond.”

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