Shared Spaces Fight Obesity

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MAA Mid-Atlantic Affiliate Blog

AHA's Mid-Atlanitc Affiliate includes DC, MD, VA, NC, and SC.

Shared Spaces Fight Obesity

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It is no secret that obesity is on the rise here in DC, and we are working hard to help fight this epidemic.  One key strategy for promoting physical activity is to open school property for recreational use by the community during non-school hours—a concept called ‘Shared Use.’  You can help promote shared use by sending a letter to the DC City Council and Mayor and telling them how important opening up these facilities is for our community’s health.

Research has indicated that people who have parks or recreational facilities nearby exercise 38% more than those who do not have easy access. Lower income communities especially stand to benefit, as they generally have fewer resources to support active lifestyles and lack of safe places to exercise.

Recently a bill was introduced in DC to open up schools for community use after school hours and resolves the liability and immunity concerns that act as barriers for community use of these recreational facilities.  Brianne Penrod, You're the Cure advocate, recently submitted a letter to the editor about shared use to the Washington Examiner that was published.  Here is part of what Brianne had to say:

“As the prevalence of obesity continues to rise, the need for such a policy change is evident. Shared-use agreements are a proven strategy to increase physical activity. Lower income communities especially stand to benefit, as they have fewer resources to support active lifestyles and lack safe places to exercise.”

You can read more of Brianne’s letter here.

With approximately 56% of adults in DC overweight or obese, and that number rising, this issue is especially important.  You can send an email to the DC City Council and Mayor telling them about the importance of shared use spaces, or you can help like Brianne and write a letter to the editor and then self report here.

Have you ever used a shared community space?  Comment below and let us know how! 

**Special thanks to Brianne Penrod for her letter to the editor.

Attachment: Kids in Gym.jpg
  • Thanks for bringing this issue to the District''s leadership, we are making progress!