Facts and Figures

Research demonstrates weight and obesity is a public health crisis that is continuing to get worse with each passing year.

Nearly two-thirds of American adults are either overweight or obese1.

The childhood obesity rate is currently more than three times what it was in 1980, growing from 5% to 17%.

North Carolina now ranks 14th in the nation in terms of percentage of the population statewide as being overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

While there are many factors that can contribute to overweight and obesity: portion size, eating meals away from home, drinking sugar sweetened beverages, lack of physical activity, genetics, etc., the basic reason for individuals becoming overweight or obese is an energy imbalance-a lack of calories burned vs. calorie intake. Offering outlets to provide people programs and places for physical activity is one of the main ways that public parks and recreation agencies can play a role in combating the prevalence of overweight and obesity.

As the segment of local government charged with providing opportunities for physical activity to our communities, there is much that public parks and recreation can do to lead local efforts to help reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity in our communities. Many parks departments have had success by –

  • working with local health departments to bring health and wellness programming into your parks and recreation facilities
  •  partnering with local school systems to provide physical activity in after school programming
  • talking with local physicians about referring patients to your parks and programs
  • collaborating with a local hospital to help fund new parks and greenways