In 2014, NRPA launched the Commit to Health campaign to engage and inspire local park and recreation sites to join the national movement to create healthier out-of-school time (OST) programs. Through this initiative, NRPA made a formal commitment to the Partnership for a Healthier America to engage 2,000 local P&R sites to implement the evidence-based Healthy Eating and Physical Activity standards, creating healthier environments and programs that support positive health and wellness outcomes for youth. NRPA has since exceed the goal of engaging 2,000 sites and is looking ahead to determine how best to evolve Commit to Health to remain relevant, addressing our current and future public health threats.
NRPA believes community-wide efforts are key to vibrant, healthy neighborhoods. The revitalized Commit to Health 2.0 focuses on three main goals.
What Does This Work Look Like?
Improving Healthy Food Access
NRPA will continue to increase capacity of local agencies in their efforts to provide meals through the USDA Child Nutrition programs, including SFSP, CACFP and NSLP at park and recreation sites. Next steps in this space include a focus on addressing senior hunger through the adult day care component of CACFP, or other congregate feeding avenues (HHS, Meals on Wheels, etc.).
NRPA is also diving into the space of local agriculture initiatives with a goal of expanding access to fresh fruits and vegetables, while strengthening ties with the local agriculture industry, through farmers markets, community-supported agriculture initiatives and community garden initiatives.
Reducing Obesity and Chronic Disease
NRPA is also leveraging the HEPA Standards 2.0, by engaging park and recreation-based OST programs in the implementation of the HEPA standards to improve access to healthy foods and physical activity opportunities, ensure environments foster positive health outcomes, and engage families in healthy living initiatives.
To support healthy weight and chronic disease management interventions, NRPA continues to offer evidence-based healthy weight and chronic disease interventions at local park and recreation sites for youth and families. A goal has been developed to establish referral systems with local healthcare providers to connect families to initial program and sustain engagement in physical activity and healthy weight efforts at P&R sites.
NRPA will also continue to improve healthy eating and physical activity knowledge and behavior in youth and families through evidence-based nutrition education.
Fostering Social Supports
Finding community connection is key to the work these programs support. Park and recreation programming and facilities offer a space to foster social engagement opportunities and bring people together to combat social isolation. P&R facilities also serve as spaces for intergenerational connection opportunities, creating a place for children and older adults to learn from each other, and to serve as mentors.
Commit to Health is supported in part by the Walmart Foundation and the USDA's Farmers Market Promotion Plan grant.
How Can You Support This Work?
Register your park and recreation site as a Commit to Health site and join the national movement to create healthier out-of-school time (OST) programs! Commit to Health sites work towards the implementation of the evidence-based Healthy Eating and Physical Activity standards at their sites, creating healthier environments and programs that support positive health and wellness outcomes for youth.
Register Your Site Today!