Ashburn, Va. (Feb. 28, 2017) — Children across the country are reaping the benefits of a national out-of-school time initiative aimed at improving childhood nutrition and increasing physical activity through local parks and recreation. Now in its third year, the National Recreation and Park Association’s (NRPA) Commit to Health campaign, which utilizes the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards first adopted by the National AfterSchool Association, has been implemented by 1,250 park and recreation sites nationally — impacting more than 228,000 youth enrolled in out-of-school time programming.
In partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), NRPA is working closely with its members to ensure children everywhere have access to healthy foods and physical fitness opportunities during out-of-school time. Data verified by a third party independent verifier demonstrates the three-year success of the Commit to Health campaign in encouraging park and recreation sites to implement the HEPA standards as part of their out-of-school time programming. The data shows that of the sites that reported:
- 85 percent of sites serve fruits and vegetables at every meal
- 95 percent of sites provide drinking water at no cost
- 82 percent of sites prohibit full-calorie soda, sports and juice drinks
- 86 percent of sites offer nutrition education that is evidence-based
- 97 percent of sites ensure physical activity takes place outdoors
- 97 percent of sites offer 30 minutes of physical activity in half-day programs or 60 minutes of physical activity in full-day programs
- 90 percent of sites limit digital device time
"NRPA is proud to lead this nationwide effort in helping children achieve a healthier and more active lifestyle,” said Kellie May, NRPA Director of Health and Wellness. “Our three-year success is a testament to the dedication of our members who make health and wellness a priority in the communities they serve — especially during out-of-school time. We look forward to the continued success of this campaign and encourage others to join us in creating a healthier America.”
“Parents struggle to help their children achieve a minimum of 60 minutes of activity each day and to eat more fruits and veggies. Partners like NRPA — focused on education, access to healthier foods and water, safe places to play — are helping ensure all kids grow up at a healthy weight,” said Lawrence A. Soler, PHA President and CEO.
“We’re proud to partner with NRPA on Commit to Health by expanding healthy out-of-school time across the country, especially in the communities of greatest need,” said Dr. Howell Wechsler, CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “As a result of our partnership, over 200,000 kids — and counting — have a healthier place to learn, grow and play.”
Park and recreation agencies are one of the largest providers of out-of-school time programming. Eighty-percent of agencies provide summer camps, while 50 percent provide afterschool programs and 31 percent provide before school programs. Any agency not currently enrolled in the Commit to Health campaign is encouraged to take the Commit to Health pledge.
To learn more about Commit to Health, visit www.nrpa.org/committohealth.
To learn more about NRPA, visit www.nrpa.org/.