Leading the nation to improved
health and wellness through parks and recreation.
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
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
Resources for Health and Wellness
Making the Case: Parks and Health
Making the Case: Parks and Health is an easy-to-use resource to help park and recreation leaders make the objective case to elected officials that parks are a critical part of the community’s public health infrastructure. The resource includes data-rich fact sheets, presentations, infographics and other resources that will help you get support for your agency. Learn more about these resources.
Health and Wellness Poster
If you want to add physical activity to your day, walking is a great way to get moving. Your local parks offer some of the best places to take a walk so you not only can get active, you can enjoy the benefits of being outdoors too. NRPA's resource page is a great place to help you get out and walk.
Quantifying the Contribution of Public Parks to Physical Activity and Health
Because public parks contribute to health and well-being, primarily by serving as an important venue for physical activity, it is in the best interests of park administrators to have a method to measure this contribution. While parks offer health benefits beyond physical activity, physical activity can be objectively measured and is an excellent way to demonstrate the value of parks. Learn more in Quantifying the Contribution of Public Parks to Physical Activity and Health.
Download Quantifying the Contribution of Public Parks to Physical Activity and Health.
County Health Rankings & Roadmaps Program
The 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
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
Parks & Recreation Magazine: Health and Wellness Articles
Returning Youth Sports to the Kids
By Joseph Lovell
July 2016 Issue
Summary: What park and recreation professionals can do to help stem the sharp decline in the number of youths participating in sports.
Keeping Food Waste Out of the Landfill
By Allison Colman
May 2016 Issue
Summary: Best practices to reducing food waste.
Commit to Health and Conservation: Seven Simple Activities
By Daniel W. Hatcher
April 2016 Issue
Summary: Seven easy programs to get youth and families outdoors this spring.
Fracking on Parkland in Appalachia
By Jonathan Casper, Ph.D., Timothy Kellison, Ph.D., Kyle Bunds, Ph.D. and Josh Newman, Ph.D.
April 2016 Issue
Summary: How is fracking on or near public parklands impacting park usage?