A new study says improved access to trails, parks and recreation programs can help address the nation’s obesity problem, but shrinking budgets are a real challenge to actually doing this, as reported by Science Daily.
What’s badly needed, the researchers said, are more recreation facilities and non-motorized trails, with information about them made readily available to the public, and more education about the value of physical activity. But even as more findings about these issues are being made, parks and recreation budgets are often under attack.
“The health aspects of outdoor recreational opportunities are poorly appreciated, and often these programs end up getting funded only if there’s money left over after they take care of everything else,” Randy Rosenberger [of Oregon State University and the study’s author] said.
The study seems to match common sense. Parks are great, but unless the money is spent to maintain, operate and run recreational programs in them, many will be left unused, deemed unsafe and thus play little role in the health of people’s lives.