Parks Healthy KidsToday’s youth and teens face a variety of chronic illnesses that have been linked to a lack of activity, poor nutrition and too little time outdoors. Access to parks and recreation programs have been proven to be a key to overcoming these issues and promoting healthy youth.

The Facts

  • Children today experience record levels of obesity and preventable diseases like hypertension and Type II Diabetes, caused in part by a decrease in physical activity and increase in processed food consumption. Using parks programming to help children move more and eat healthily can help children fight these diseases and live longer.

  • Children who live within two-thirds of a mile from a park with a playground are five times more likely to be a healthy weight. Time spent outside leads to higher levels of physical activity in children.

  • A 20-minute walk in a park or other natural area can help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder focus better.

  • Active children show more brain activity, and they are 20 percent more likely to earn an A in English or math.

  • Seventy-six percent of recreation and park agencies offer summer camps, which provide some form of active programming for children, and 50 percent of those agencies also provide healthy feeding programs for park participants.

  • Youth living in neighborhoods with multiple recreation and park facilities are more likely to be active five times a week, compared to young people who don’t have access to any. Unfortunately, young people who live in poor or mostly minority neighborhoods are 50 percent less likely to have a recreation and park facility near their homes.

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