Get Colorado’s kids ready for the military by investing in bike and pedestrian projects, report says

A Montbello sidewalk. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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A Montbello sidewalk. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) montbello; denver; denverite; colorado; kevinjbeaty;
A Montbello sidewalk. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

While Colorado may be the fittest state in the nation, its kids are not.

In fact, 70 percent of young adults in Colorado are ineligible for military service because of their weight, according to a study from Council for a Strong America.

To fix that, the study proposes investments in bicycle and pedestrian projects. Kind of a fun bipartisan marriage of traditionally conservative issues (military) and traditionally liberal ones (urbanism). 

Less fun, unless you’re masochistic, is envisioning the likelihood of the study’s suggested mechanism for more bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure:

Colorado lawmakers should include dedicated funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects in transportation appropriations.

Despite transportation funding for Colorado’s state roads being a top priority, lawmakers did not allocate more funding for them this year. That makes significant state investment in bicycles and sidewalks feel like a distant possibility. In fact, some Republicans opposed the legislation in part because it dedicated too much money to non-car travel infrastructure.

Let’s not let that dissuade us from the possibilities such investment could be unlocked though.

Improved walking and biking routes can help increase childhood activity levels by more than 15 minutes a day, the study noted. Conversely, areas with the highest levels of childhood obesity in Denver tend to have sidewalks in worse conditions than the rest of the city.

So whether you want healthier kids or healthier kids who could also serve in the military, sidewalks don’t seem like a bad way to get there.