Research Papers

Let’s Go to the Park Today: The Role of Parks in Obesity Prevention and Improving the Public’s Health

Childhood Obesity Cover The Journal Childhood Obesity recently published a Perspective on the role of parks in obesity prevention and improving the public’s health. The article was authored by experts from the CDC, National Park Service and NRPA.

The article briefly summarizes some of the obesity related benefits of parks across the local, state, and national park systems and highlights specific initiatives as examples of the commitment by park agencies to benefit the public’s health and play a role in obesity and chronic disease prevention. Download Let’s Go to the Park Today: The Role of Parks in Obesity Prevention and Improving the Public’s Health.

Reprinted with permission from Childhood Obesity, October 2012, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.

Parks Build Healthy Communities: Success Stories

Parks Build Healthy Communities Success Stories Our country is in a health crisis. Sedentary lifestyles and poor nutrition have contributed to the more than one-third of adults and approximately 17 percent of children in the U.S. being obese. Parks and recreation can help inspire a healthier America.

This publication collects the best and most successful strategies leveraged since 2009 that have proved effective for building healthy communities through parks and recreation. These case studies offer valuable insights for others seeking to take a stand and become leaders in their community for fighting the battle of obesity. Download Parks Build Healthy Communities: Success Stories.
 Find more resources, including Issue Briefs and Dialogue Guides, on our Healthy Communities page.

Parks and Recreation in Underserved Areas: A Public Health Perspective

Parks Rec Underserved Areas In light of the urgency of the obesity epidemic and available research, it is essential for park and recreation agencies to review and reevaluate the aspects of parks that can potentially have a lasting impact on the future of public health.

This paper takes a closer look at how park use and physical activity levels are influenced by the following factors: distribution and access to public parks and recreation, park facilities and park conditions. Download Parks and Recreation in Underserved Areas.

Parks and Recreation: Essential Partners in Active Transportation

Active Transportation As our society continues to face an economic downturn, deals with increasing obesity rates, and addresses climate change conditions, active transportation begins to emerge as a viable tool to meaningfully tackle these challenges.

The advantages of active transportation are invaluable.It is for this very reason that public parks and recreation enables, supports, and advocates for active transportation infrastructure so that our communities achieve benefits that improve the overall quality of our lives. Download Essential Partners in Active Transportation. 

Synopsis of Research Papers: The Key Benefits

Research Papers Summary CoverThe situation facing U.S. parks is stark: A societal resource more popular and beneficial than at any time in history is pitted against those who would cut funding to these very resources.

The Synopsis of 2010 Research Papers  summarizes the key categories in which parks and recreation contribute to building of healthy, vibrant communities. This white paper outlines in six main areas the latest research into the benefits provided by parks: physical health, mental health, social functioning, youth development, environment, and economic impact.

Read all available industry monographs in their entirety.

From Interest to Commitment: The Citizen Connection—A White Paper Summary of an Open Forum at the 2010 NRPA Congress

Citizen ConnectionIt is generally assumed that citizen participation is a desired and necessary part of any community based initiative. At the same time, the concept is so broad that until this time there has not been a clear-cut and widely agreed upon definition of it. Read about proven successful strategies that have encouraged citizen participation in park and recreation agency events, programs and services, as well as volunteering and advocacy.

This white paper report offers park and recreation agencies insights on how to successfully engage park users and the broader public in their organizations. Download From Interest to Commitment: The Citizen Connection.

Rejuvenating Neighborhoods and Communities through Parks—A Guide To Success

Rejuvenating NeighborhoodsThe practice of developing or redeveloping parks, and open spaces, has become a catalyst for revitalizing neighborhoods and communities, throughout the United States. This guide provides inspiration to move park projects forward while giving you strategies and techniques to ensure success.

Parks are such an essential component of livable, sustainable, communities that it is difficult to imagine a truly livable sustainable community without parks, trails, and other recreational resources and the positive changes such parks create for the entire neighborhood. Download Rejuvenating Neighborhoods and Communities through Parks—A Guide To Success.

Case Studies

Issue Briefs

For more information about research papers, contact NRPA Customer Service at 800.626.NRPA (6772)