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HEALTHY CHILDREN, HEALTHY COMMUNITIES

NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2005

Photo: Kids playing SoccerLow income communities in urban areas are disproportionately denied the benefits of safe open spaces for physical activity in parks and schools and disproportionately suffer from diseases related to obesity and inactivity. Through advocacy and public education campaigns, legal services providers can help communities achieve equal access to schools, parks, and green spaces for healthy children and healthy communities.

The City Project has published an article to help legal service providers improve human health and the quality of life for traditionally underserved communities through equal access to schools, parks, and green spaces. The article Healthy Children, Healthy Communities, and Legal Services, published in a special issue on Environmental Justice for Children in the Journal of Poverty Law and Policy by the National Center on Poverty Law and the Clearinghouse Review (May-June 2005), provides recommendations to incorporate human health, urban equity, and sustainable regional planning into legal services advocacy. The full article can be found online at www.cityprojectca.org/publications/health.html.

California State Senator Tom Torlakson (D-Antioch) invited The City Project and others to form a working group to recommend programs to promote physical activity among California’s children and adolescents to be funded from a proposed bond measure. Our recommendations include:(1) improving PE classes; (2) promoting physical activity throughout the day; (3) promoting walkable neighborhoods; (4) increasing availability and access to parks and recreational facilities; (5) supporting programs promoting physical education; and (6) supporting a mechanism to measure effectiveness of programs.