Why We Heart Parks & Rec
Our mission is to create healthier environments in the places youth spend their time. And Parks and Rec Departments often create and maintain these places. They provide diverse out-of-school time programming after school, on weekends, and during the summer. These are times that, if youth are encouraged to eat healthily and move more, can reinforce healthy habits kids are learning at home and during the school day.
“Youth in neighborhoods with 7 recreational facilities were 26% more likely to be active 5 times per week than those in areas without facilities.” – Active Living Research
That’s why we “heart” our Parks and Recreation.
Parks and Recreation Departments can serve as a community’s bridge to connect the organizations, schools, play areas, and families within it.
We support more than 155 out-of-school time providers across the nation, and almost 25% of them are associated with or operated by a Parks and Recreation Department. In Sacramento, Sacramento START – a Parks and Recreation program- serves as a great example of how Parks and Recreation Departments can reinforce healthy habits. This past year, the program taught kids in their communities how to grow healthy fruits and vegetables in a local garden and eventually developed mini farmers’ markets where children and families could learn about local and sustainable foods. Now, the families in those communities have better access to higher quality produce and as a result fruit and vegetable consumption has gone up.
Parks and Recreation Departments help you feel the pulse of a community. There is no one solution for health that works everywhere. But there are simple principles that when adjusted to a given community’s unique needs, available resources, and interests can make lasting change for health. Parks and Rec brings you closer to your community, gets you in front of the right people at the right time, and can help you identify the right resources to support healthy efforts.
We love our Parks & Rec and think you should too. Thanks to the National Recreation and Park Association for the great work and for getting people talking this month.
What recreational areas/facilities keep you moving?