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Health and Wellness

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Health and WellnessLeading the nation to improved health and wellness through parks and recreation.

America continues to feel the strain of a serious health crisis affecting adults and young alike. One in which we are plagued by poor nutrition, sedentary lifestyles, and unhealthy habits. But there is a solution with little to no cost and is available in nearly every town, city and community – local parks and recreation.

The scientific evidence is mounting that parks and recreation are building healthier communities and top health officials in the country – U.S. Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – validate that parks and recreation are a critical solution for our nation’s health epidemic.

Parks and recreation are enacting strategies focused on improving access to healthy food, increasing opportunities for physical activity, decreasing tobacco consumption, and so much more. The solutions they provide are making a real difference, like in Montgomery, AL, where leadership by the park and recreation agency has helped reduce the rate of obesity from 34 to 30.9 percent, taking the county from the Most Obese in 2010 to 15th in 2012.

The time is now to demonstrate how parks and recreation are effectively able to create healthy and prosperous communities. Watch NRPA’s President and CEO Barbara Tulipane, CAE talk about how parks and recreation can embrace leadership in health and wellness.

Position Statement

Resources

County Health Rankings & Roadmaps Program

United States mapThe County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute to measure the health of nearly all counties in the nation and rank them within states. The Rankings are compiled using county-level measures from a variety of national and state data sources. These measures are standardized and combined using scientifically-informed weights.

 

Interactive Map Explores Health Trends in the United States

USA MapThe Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), an independent global health research center at the University of Washington, created this interactive map in which you can explore health trends in the United States at the county level for both sexes in life expectancy, hypertension, obesity and physical activity. This research helps provide a foundation for informed decision-making and community action toward eating healthier and increasing physical activity.


Explore more health and wellness resources.

Parks & Recreation Magazine: Health and Wellness Articles

Summer Feeding Fun in the Sun
By Audrey Rowe
July 2014 Issue
Summary: Park and recreation agencies help fill the gap during warmer months for kids who depend on school meals for nutrition.

Promoting Healthy Lifestyle Choices for Citizens with Disabilities
By Jeff Burley, M.S., CTRS
June 2014 Issue
Summary: Parks and recreation in Utah's Salt Lake County have developed an inclusive buddy pass system to promote active participation among community members with disabilities.

Taking Strides for Fitness in Florida
By Danielle Taylor
May 2014 Issue
Summary: A fitness trail in Ocala honors a local recreation legend and provides a freely accessible opportunity for community wellness.