To encourage outdoor activity today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed a parks and trails toolkit that will help communities create parks with expanded health benefits. In addition to Olmsted’s observations, access to parks can help kids get the 60 minutes of aerobic physical activity each day recommended to maintain good health. According to the 2014 CDC State Indicator Report on Physical Activity, less than 30 percent of youth (grades 9-12) in the United States get this recommended amount of aerobic physical activity. Additionally, more than 25 percent of adults report no leisure-time physical activity. Being physically active is one of the most important steps Americans of all ages can take to improve their health.

The toolkit includes:

  • Resources that provide data about health issues in an area, for example, childhood obesity rates, mortality rates, or percent of low birth weight babies
  • Recommendations from existing HIAs, including ways to improve access by evaluating park entry points and support physical activity that can help improve cardiovascular health
  • Citations that support the recommendations

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