June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 18

RESEARCH
Investing in Health Through
Parks and Recreation
By Austin Barrett, Ph.D., CPRP
P
arks and recreation increasingly is seen as an essential component
of the healthcare system. For readers of Parks & Recreation
magazine, this connection is no surprise. But how widely is that
perception held among the broader population?
The Perception
One answer comes from a
2017 research paper (tinyurl.
com/4szkbpxx). Using a statewide
survey of 2,240 responses, researchers
in Pennsylvania found that 73
percent of residents agreed with the
statement, " Parks,
trails and open
space are an essential component of
our healthcare system. " Sixty-eight
percent agreed with the same statement
in a separate survey conducted
with 243 patients in a Pennsylvania
primary care clinic. These views were
shared across different demographic
categories; the researchers found no
difference in level of agreement based
on age, race and income. Only minor
differences in agreement were identified
based on gender (females agreed
at a higher rate than males) and education
(college degree holders agreed
at a higher rate than non-college degree
holders). The results indicate a
recognition among the public that
parks, trails and open spaces have a
place at the health promotion table.
The Evidence
Using nationwide data, two research
studies tested the relationship
between county-level spending
on park and recreation operations
and specific health outcomes.
The
first
study
(tinyurl.com/
ycxvxayr) examined how operational
spending on parks and recreation related
to mortality in the United States.
They wanted to know: Does an increase
in spending on local parks and
recreation relate to a decrease in mortality
rate? Yes, it does - increased
county-area spending on parks and
recreation was associated with a decrease
in overall mortality from 1980
to 2010.
A second study (tinyurl.com/
yzm5xju5) examined the relationship
between local government spending
on parks and recreation and how
people describe their own health
(such as excellent, very good, good,
fair or poor). Researchers analyzed
a nationwide public dataset of more
than 300,000 responses to see if increased
spending on parks and recreation
was associated with a decreased
number of people rating their health
as " poor. " The answer: Yes, again!
Higher levels of county-area park and
recreation spending was associated
with lower likelihood of participants
describing their health as " poor. " The
analyses also included other local
government spending on traditional
healthcare categories, such as health,
welfare and hospitals, to avoid bias.
Further, out of all included government
spending variables, parks and
recreation was the only variable associated
with better self-rated health.
Finally, the Community Preventive
Services Task Force recently
released a finding (tinyurl.
18 Parks & Recreation | JUNE 2 0 2 4 | PARK S ANDRECRE AT ION . OR G
com/59dz6j3e) showing how
health-related economic benefits
exceed the cost for park, trail and
greenway infrastructure. The systematic
review, that soon will be
published in the American Journal of
Preventive Medicine, identified seven
research studies that quantified the
economic value of a park, trail and
other greenway infrastructure development.
The review found that
every dollar spent on these projects
led to $3.10 worth of health-related
benefits. NRPA will share more information
about this article upon
publication.
Data Talks
NRPA also provides ways to measure
the impact of parks and recreation
on health. Check out the Annual
Health Care Cost Benefit of
Equitable Access to Parks calculator
(tinyurl.com/4au96uad) to see
the amount of annual healthcare
savings in your city when all residents
have nearby access to parks.
Understanding
and communicating
some of these findings will
help make the case for continued
support for and investment in local
park and recreation services. Data
are crucial for communicating benefits
to local decision-makers. It's
time to amplify the message that an
investment in local park and recreation
services is an investment in
local health and well-being.
For more research-informed statements
on the multitude of benefits
provided by parks and recreation,
visit NRPA's Parks and Recreation
Is Essential webpage (nrpa.org/
Essential).
Austin Barrett (he/him), Ph.D., CPRP, is
Senior Evaluation Manager at NRPA
(abarrett@nrpa.org).
http://tinyurl.com/59dz6j3e http://tinyurl.com/4szkbpxx http://tinyurl.com/yzm5xju5 http://tinyurl.com/4au96uad http://www.nrpa.org/Essential http://tinyurl.com/ycxvxayr http://tinyurl.com/59dz6j3e

June 2024 – Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of June 2024 – Parks & Recreation

June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - Intro
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - Cover1
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - Cover2
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 1
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 2
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 3
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 4
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 5
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 6
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 7
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 8
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 9
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 10
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 11
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 12
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 13
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 14
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 15
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 16
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 17
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 18
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 19
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 20
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 21
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 22
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 23
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 24
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 25
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 26
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 27
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 28
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 29
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 30
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 31
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 32
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 33
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 34
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 35
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 36
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 37
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 38
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 39
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 40
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 41
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 42
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 43
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 44
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 45
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 46
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 47
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 48
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 49
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 50
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 51
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 52
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 53
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 54
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 55
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 56
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - Cover3
June 2024 – Parks & Recreation - Cover4
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
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