New Poll: Americans Take Healthy Eating and Heart Health Seriously

(February 1, 2018)

Parks and rec are a favorite place to take healthy eating classes

Ashburn, Va. (Feb. 1, 2018) — Healthy eating is essential to promoting good heart health. That’s why, according to a recent poll conducted by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), 3 in 4 Americans say they are interested in participating in healthy eating or cooking classes — including at their local community or rec center where parents (32 percent) are more likely to take healthy eating classes.    

The top three places to take healthy eating classes include home/online (45 percent), grocery stores and restaurants (33 percent), and local rec centers (26 percent). Other popular places include schools or community colleges; health facilities, such as clinics and hospitals; local fitness centers or gyms; and local senior centers. Baby boomers are more likely to go outside the home to learn about healthy eating, while millennials and Gen Xers are more likely to access the topic online.     

“The role of parks and rec in encouraging healthy habits — such as diet and exercise — is expanding,” said Barbara Tulipane, NRPA president and CEO. “Anyone looking to educate themselves on healthy eating and nutrition should reach out to their local rec center where there are opportunities for everyone.”  

Eighty percent of park and rec agencies provide health and wellness education. This includes programs such as Commit to Health, which supports the implementation of Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards at park and rec agencies across the country. Now in its third year, the program includes a Commit to Health: Foods of the Month nutrition literacy curriculum that is used to encourage communities to eat healthy.    

This poll is part of NRPA’s Park Pulse, a continuing series of monthly surveys that gauge the public’s opinion on topics relating to parks and recreation. To explore previous Park Pulse survey results, visit   

To view the interactive charts with the survey results, click here.

To view the full-size infographic, click here.

To learn more about NRPA, visit   


About the National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit