The authors discuss the role that volunteer programs may play in increasing levels of physical activity. In some cases volunteer programs may simultaneously improve individual health, benefit the environment and increase the public's opportunities for physical activity. From a survey of 2, 032 respondents, results suggest that volunteers are more likely to meet physical activity recommendations than non-volunteers. Moreover, those who volunteer on environmental issues are 2.6 times as likely to meet physical activity recommendations as those who do not volunteer for these issues. Policies that support volunteer opportunities involving environmental projects such as maintaining trails, planting trees and cleaning parks, may be important for individual fitness because of their potential for high levels of physical activity. Volunteer activities that produce personal health benefits fit well within the actions of a comprehensive health promotion effort and health educators are well positioned to partner with volunteer programs. Moreover, this promising practice serves as an opportunity for health educators to be effective consumers of health promotion research. Health educators are encouraged to seek partnership opportunities on future studies to clarify the role that volunteer programs requiring physical activity may play in promoting or maintaining health.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health