BPHC logoOn Saturday, June 30, Mayor Thomas M. Menino joined several NeighborWalk community walking groups at the Franklin Park Zoo to celebrate the success of the initiative, which provides residents an opportunity to get out and get active for free in their own neighborhoods. Now in its tenth year, the NeighborWalk program has taken on greater importance as part of Boston Moves for Health.

In addition, Meg Vaillancourt, senior vice president/executive director of the Red Sox Foundation announced a donation of $10,000 to support the walking program and extend NeighborWalk activities through the fall.

“By being active and supporting each other, these walking groups really embody the spirit of Boston Moves for Health,” said Mayor Menino. “We want to encourage everyone to grab their friends and family and to get moving in their neighborhoods, in our great parks, and all over Boston.  Together we can meet the goal of being a healthier, more active city.”

A program of the Boston Public Health Commission, NeighborWalk provides $500 mini-grants to community-based, not-for-profit organizations that organize walks and recruit residents; identify convenient, accessible routes; and lead weekly walks for two and a half months each summer.

In 2012, 27 groups throughout the city got more than 380 participants walking in their communities. Now in its tenth year, NeighborWalk participants have joined Boston Moves for Health and logged over 7,000 miles this spring.

There is substantial evidence showing that walking helps control or even prevent many chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, breast and colon cancer, high blood pressure, and depression. It can help you maintain a healthy weight; promote bone, joint and muscle health; lower total cholesterol; and increase good cholesterol.

As part of the morning’s celebration, Mayor Menino and Dr. Barbara Ferrer, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, awarded certificates to the walking groups and thanked them for their dedication to promoting community health. Following the celebration, guests were invited to take a stroll through the Franklin Park Zoo, where walkers received raffle tickets for a chance to win prizes.