Health and Wellness




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


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.

More health and wellness resources can be found here.

Parks & Recreation Magazine: Health and Wellness Articles

Minnesota’s Three Rivers Park District Paves the Way for Local Adapted Outdoor Recreation
By Tracy Tabaka
March 2014 Issue
Summary: Disabled outdoor instructors in Minnesota show participants that handicaps don't have to limit recreation participation.

Exercise, Fibromyalgia Syndrome and Implications for Community Recreation Professionals
By William Karper, Ed.D.
February 2014 Issue
Summary: As incidence of fibromyalgia syndrome rises, recreation professionals need to brush up on how to best serve those in their communities who wish to participate in fitness and recreation programs.

County of San Diego Breaks Barriers to Recreation for Obese Youth
By Amy Kapp
January 2014 Issue
Summary: Through the Rec Rx initiative, the County hoped to help more children attain their fitness goals and adopt lifelong healthy behaviors.