Project updates, commentaries, events and news about health across the nation from the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps team.
Funding Playgrounds, Parks to Boost Community Health
Access to playgrounds and other recreational facilities is known to increase physical activity and improve physical fitness, and in McDowell County, N.C., efforts to boost access to recreational facilities have led to successful funding of upgrades to playgrounds and parks.
More than a year ago the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust of North Carolina invited McDowell County to participate in Healthy Places North Carolina, the Trust’s long-term initiative to improve health and quality of life in the state’s rural communities.
The Trust funded the refurbishing of play areas in eight elementary schools, providing students with better opportunities for physical activity. The facilities will also be open to the community after school hours.
Additionally, the Trust is partnering with national nonprofit KaBOOM! to build new playgrounds in two areas identified by a local mapping committee as play space starved. Community members and volunteers just completed one of the facilities in late August, and “local children now have a great space to play and be active,” according to Abena Asante, senior program officer for the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust/Healthy Places McDowell County.
The volunteer-driven McDowell County Health Coalition has received technical assistance and support from the Roadmaps to Health Action Center and its community coaches. The Action Center provides resources for using the County Health Rankings data to improve community health, where to focus your efforts, and what policies and programs you can use.