• Tony Renta

Let's get moving... at your local park!

In thinking about how landscape architects are charged with protecting the health, safety and well-being of the public – an issue that we are confronted with here in the United States come forefront to mind. Today, nearly one in the three children and adolescents are obese or overweight in this country. These numbers have been increasing steadily in the last 40 years. First, let’s define these conditions:

  • Overweight: having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water – or a combination of these factors

  • Obese: having excess body fat

What are the contributing factors to these circumstances plaguing our youth population?

  • Children are sitting more and walking less

FACT: 8-18 year old adolescents spent on average 7.5 hours a day on electronic entertainment (television, computer use, phones, gaming, etc.)
  • Physical education programs in schools aren’t what they used to be

FACT: Daily PE classes are provided in only 4% of elementary schools, 8% of middle schools, and 2% of high schools
  • Our eating habits have changed – we eat out and snack between meals way more than we used to

FACT: We consume 31% more calories today than we did 40 years ago

So what can we do about all these obstacles? We can start by striving for our kids to get 60 minutes of active play each day. Some of this activity could/should take place at school, but making activity a priority for your family is also a good place to start. And why not take advantage of some of the wonderful outdoor spaces the city of Birmingham and surrounding communities has to offer?

City Guides:

Notable Parks:


  1. Lavizzo-Mourey, M. (n.d.). 60-Plus Minutes of Physical Activity a Day Where Kids Live, Learn and Play. Retrieved March 18, 2015, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/risa-lavizzomourey-md/kids-physical-activity_b_2862955.html

  2. Let's Move. (n.d.). Retrieved March 18, 2015, from http://www.letsmove.gov/learn-facts/epidemic-childhood-obesity

  3. (2014, December 11). Retrieved March 18, 2015, from http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm