Community-based social support for physical activity

Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

  • This strategy can help residents access health services. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve this outcome are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
  • Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Program basics

  • Combines physical activity opportunities and social support to build, strengthen, and maintain social networks that encourage positive behavior changes
  • Can include education, group or individual counseling, or plans tailored to individual needs
  • Examples include walking groups, exercise buddy systems, making contracts, setting goals, or planning physical activities with others

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Proven (highest tier)


Proven (highest tier)

Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps

Target population


Program cost

Not available

Implementation locations

  • Nationwide

Dates active

Not available

Outcomes and impact

  • Increased physical activity and physical fitness among adults
  • Provides physical health benefits such as reduced cardiovascular risk, weight loss, diabetes, and general functioning
  • Provides mental health benefits such as reduced depressive and anxiety symptoms

Keys to successful implementation

  • Note: This content is under review
  • Programs that encourage social support, especially by including family members and friends, are more likely to foster participation
  • Partnerships with local groups such as recreational centers, community centers, and religious organizations can enhance the social support component of the program and can also improve participant recruitment and retention
  • Partnerships with physical health practitioners such as fitness instructors and physiotherapists can facilitate collaboration on program design and increase trust in the program
  • Barriers to participation can include lack of apparel such as shoes and workout clothing, especially in low-income communities, and time constraints for working mothers and other similar groups

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