Addressing Childhood Obesity Through Shared Recreational Facilities

kids in helmetsChildhood obesity has tripled in the United States over the past 40 years, with nearly one third of children and teens in the United States overweight or obese. The epidemic is related to the fact that, even though studies show that regular physical activity promotes important health benefits and reduces risk for obesity, most communities have not prioritized built environment policies that support physical activity. As a result, many children do not have the opportunity to engage in
adequate physical activity each day.

One way to increase physical activity opportunities is to increase access to recreational facilities. Historically, schools have had a variety of recreational facilities, such as gymnasiums, playgrounds, fields, courts, and tracks. However, most of these schools close their property to the public during non-school hours, such as weekends, holidays, summer break, and before and after school, because of concerns about costs, vandalism, security, maintenance, and liability in the event of injury. Unfortunately, these concerns can have a huge effect on health, as access to recreational facilities is associated with lower body mass index among children and increased physical activity among adults. Luckily, shared use (or joint use) agreements have become a popular strategy for addressing these concerns while also creating built environment policies that encourage partnerships and support healthy lifestyles.

Click here to download the resource: Addressing Childhood Obesity Through Shared Recreational Facilities (Safe Routes to School National Partnership, 2013).

Governor Brown's Administration Proposes to End Dedicated Funding for Popular Safe Routes to School Program; Advocates Fight Back

Governor Brown's Administration Proposes to End Dedicated Funding for Popular Safe Routes to School Program; Advocates Fight Back

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Monday, February 4, 2013

Contact:

Gearing Up: What's Next on the Federal Transportation Bill

Gearing Up: What's Next on the Federal Transportation Bill

A Message to Supporters of Safe Routes to School and Active Transportation
July 26, 2012

We are not going to let 20 years of progress in bicycling, walking and Safe Routes to School come to a halt!

It’s true that the new transportation bill, MAP-21, slashed guaranteed funding for bicycling and walking. But thanks to you and thousands of individual advocates who called, wrote, and e-mailed Congress as the bill was being written, we are still very much in the game.

The America Bikes coalition, of which the Safe Routes to School National Partnership is a member, is committed to working with advocates and state and local organizations to ensure that states and local governments use every opportunity in the new law to increase the safety and convenience of bicycling and walking.

Together, we can maximize bicycling, walking and Safe Routes to School investments — both under MAP-21’s new Transportation Alternatives program and the larger core transportation and safety funds.

We expect every state to:

  • Fully fund, staff, and implement the new Transportation Alternatives program. Specifically, states should:
    • Fully fund: Do not transfer any funds away from Transportation Alternatives or opt-out of the Recreational Trails program
    • Fully staff: Preserve or increase staff support for Transportation Alternatives by maintaining state Safe Routes to School coordinators and bike/ped coordinators
    • Fully implement: Promptly award Transportation Alternatives grants with participation of relevant stakeholders
  • Fully maximize the state’s investments in safe, accessible streets: utilize all MAP-21 funding programs — including HSIP, CMAQ, and STP — to include biking and walking in all transportation projects
  • Fully spend remaining funds from the Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and Recreational Trails programs

We are working closely with our partners to develop an action plan to coordinate our efforts for the best results in every state. Together, we are already working on a suite of tools and resources to help advocates ensure that states and communities take full advantage of MAP-21. We will alert you as those resources become available.

With your help and dedication over the coming weeks and months, the national renaissance in Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking will continue in communities all across the country.

Thank you for your commitment.

Sincerely,

Deb Hubsmith, Director
Safe Routes to School National Partnership


For more information on MAP-21, see our MAP-21 Resource Center.

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