Let's go to the park today: the role of parks in obesity prevention and improving the public's health

Child Obes. 2012 Oct;8(5):423-8. doi: 10.1089/chi.2012.0085.blan.


Let's go to the park today! This familiar phrase is heard routinely throughout the year in many U.S. households. Access to parks, trails, open spaces, and recreational facilities not only provides increased opportunities for children and adults to play and be physically active, but these venues also influence other behaviors. As the health and wellbeing of our children are impacted by the daily environment in which they live, learn, and play, the use of parks and other recreation spaces as a healthful venue is important to consider in a comprehensive view of childhood and family obesity prevention. This article briefly summarizes some of the obesity-related benefits of parks across the local, state, and national park systems and highlights specific initiatives as examples of the commitment by park agencies to benefit the public's health and play a role in obesity and chronic disease prevention.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Environment
  • Environment Design / economics
  • Environment Design / statistics & numerical data*
  • Exercise*
  • Food / standards
  • Humans
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Public Facilities*
  • Recreation
  • Residence Characteristics