NRPA’s new Active Parks! resource provides strategies for park and recreation and public health professionals seeking to equitably increase access and use of parks, trails, and greenways for safe physical activity
The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), the nation’s leading advocate for parks and recreation is excited to announce the launch of a new resourceto support park and recreation and public health professionals ensure all community members have equitable access to high-quality parks, trails, and greenways for safe physical activity. This work supports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Active People, Healthy NationSM Initiative which aims to help 27 million people become more physically active by 2027.
The Active Parks! Implementation Guide is grounded in research from the Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF), which recommends combining park, trail, and greenway infrastructure improvements with additional activities like community engagement, structured programming, public awareness, and/or other access enhancements. The additional activities are designed to increase use of these spaces for physical activity. The guide provides an overview of the recommendation and a step-by-step process for equitably implementing key activities to advance the recommendation. The recommendations prioritize authentic engagement with communities that have historically faced barriers to parks, trails, and greenways. Case studies from four projects provide examples of how this recommendation can positively impact the use of parks, trails, and greenways for physical activity and other health and social benefits.
“Using the Active Parks! Implementation Guide, park and recreation and public health professionals can take action to advance health equity in their communities,” said Kristine Stratton, NRPA president and CEO. “Prioritizing and engaging the people who have historically been excluded from the benefits that parks, trails, and greenways provide is critical to implementing this recommendation and ensuring quality of life for all.”
“Physical activity helps improve physical and mental health and can benefit everyone,” said Ken Rose, Physical Activity and Health Branch Chief in CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. “Active People, Healthy Nation supports equitable, safe, and inclusive access to parks, trails, and greenways to increase physical activity and improve social connectedness. When the route to the park is safe, people may walk, bike, or roll to the park which builds physical activity into the journey.”
Parks and recreation is vital to community health and well-being. Park and recreation agencies provide and manage infrastructure, programs, and services that eliminate barriers to health. Parks and recreation areas also create opportunities for people to engage in behaviors and activities that improve and maintain physical health, including helping people achieve the recommended amount of physical activity. The Active Parks! Implementation Guide encourages park and recreation and public health professionals to partner to create more community-driven, equitable, and inclusive spaces, programs, and services where all people can experience the benefits that parks, trails, and greenways uniquely provide.
NRPA has also developed a communications toolkit to share the message about the Active Parks! Implementation Guide. The toolkit includes talking points and sample messaging to support promotion of the new resource.
To learn more and access the guide, click here.
To learn more about NRPA, visit nrpa.org.
About the National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is the leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to building strong, vibrant and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation. With more than 60,000 members, NRPA advances this mission by investing in and championing the work of park and recreation professionals and advocates — the catalysts for positive change in service of equity, climate-readiness, and overall health and well-being. For more information, visit nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit parksandrecreation.org.
About CDC’s Active People, Healthy Nation
Active People, Healthy Nation is a national initiative led by the CDC to help 27 million Americans become more physically active by 2027. Learn more at cdc.gov/physicalactivity/activepeoplehealthynation.