The following testimonials from researchers and elected officials can be used to build confidence in the health benefits of parks.
“Thanks in large part to our investment in a new park system, Hernando, Mississippi, went from being one of the most obese cities in one of the most obese states in the nation to being named the ‘Healthiest Hometown’ by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation. Most important, we did it all by giving voters what they were asking for: Options for recreation, exercise and active transportation that they could choose to take advantage of in their own way. In my mind, the numbers speak for themselves, but in Hernando we’ve gotten a tangible financial windfall as well. We recently had a major business from Germany expand into our city with very few incentives. What helped seal the deal was the great quality of life Hernando has to offer these days, with health and wellness as the cornerstone.”
Mayor Chip Johnson
“In our community, parks are at the center of helping us address all sorts of health issues common in urban areas. Like many other cities in America, we’re seeing an epidemic of childhood obesity, especially among our low-income residents. One way we’re fighting this is through our parks. They offer kids a chance to run around and play outdoors, as well as programs that give them access to healthy meals. And as we rebuild our tree canopy and improve our green spaces, we’re bringing relief to residents who suffer from asthma at one of the highest rates in the country. But parks are not all about solving problems. In a city like Hartford, where many families struggle to make ends meet, our parks are stress-reducers and vacation destinations. Places where people can relax, recharge and spend real quality time with their friends and families.”
Mayor Pedro Segarra
“Our research group conducted an extensive literature review on the multiple benefits of parks and trails. The main finding was that a great deal of evidence supports that living near a park can enhance physical, mental, and social health. Those benefits appear to be enhanced if parks are designed to promote physical activity and have sufficient programs to attract high use of the facilities.”
James F. Sallis, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health
Chief, Division of Behavioral Medicine
University of California, San Diego, mail code 0824 Director, Active Living Research