WHI is the 'Walking the way to Health Initiative' and it aims to get more people walking in their own communities, especially those who take little exercise or live in areas of poor health.

WHI is an initiative of the British Heart Foundation and Natural England. It has benefitted from extra funding from the Big Lottery Fund. WHI has helped to create 450 local health walk schemes across England and has sister schemes in Scotland and Wales. Since 2000, it is estimated that WHI has encouraged over a million people to walk more.

As of August 2007 [1], WHI has trained 30,000 volunteer walk leaders.

“Inactivity is one of the biggest health challenges facing this country. Volunteer walk leaders have encouraged over a million people to take their first steps back to fitness through WHI. The natural environment has been show to be the best motivator to keep people walking and the Walking the Way to Health Initiative, whilst reconnecting people with the natural environment, has a strong community focus - providing support and confidence.

“The Walking the Way to Health Initiative is a success because it is fun, free and provides a long term solution for people who want to make a difference to their health. The initiative is simple and puts people on the right track for better health – but it could not be done without the enthusiasm and dedication of the volunteers.” Dr William Bird, founder of WHI and health advisor to Natural England

The majority of WHI health walk schemes have their own web page on the WHI Walk Finder, displaying details of their walks and how to get involved.

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  1. Natural England,August 7 2007

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