Banner: Active Spaces

Latino kids in underserved communities have limited options for physical activity, which is part of the reason they are more likely to be overweight or obese than their peers.

How can physical activity be part of their daily experience?

The best ways to improve access to and safe use of “active spaces”— gyms, athletic fields, parks, and playgrounds—include: adopting shared use agreements; improving neighborhood characteristics, such as repairing sidewalks, installing street lights, and improving park maintenance; creating safer routes to active spaces; and using marketing and technology to change Latino kids’ physical activity patterns.

Download Our New 2016 Active Spaces Research Review, Issue Brief, and Infographics!

Research_reviewResearch Review
Active-Spaces-Template2Issue Brief
Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 10.50.37 AMInfographic: Safe Neighborhoods
Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 10.53.37 AMInfographic: Safe Streets
Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 10.54.53 AMInfographic: Shared Use

Active Spaces: What‘s New?

See SA! Changes SA! Resources Salud Heroes in this topic.

SA! Resource 6 Reasons Why Parks Matter for Health

national park 100

Access to safe parks plays a huge role in overall health and wellness by promoting promoting physical activity and improving mental health. Parks even have the potential to reduce health care costs. Unfortunately, there are inequities in Latino kids’ access to parks and safe places to play; therefore, they are at increased risk for mental and physical health problems. Learn more … Read more

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SA! Resource How is the U.S. Doing on Traffic Safety?

Source: WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety, 2015.

When it comes to traffic safety, the U.S. lags far behind other countries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association’s (NHTSA’s) analysis of 2015 data shows that 35,200 individuals were killed on U.S. roads last year, which is the largest year-over-year percentage increase (7.7%) since national record-keeping began. Traffic safety is a public health issue. It is also … Read more

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SA! Change Massachusetts Wellness Trust Aligns Health Care System with Prevention Efforts

MAss governor Wellness trust


An investment as little as $10 per person per year in evidenced-based, community prevention programs, such as those that increase physical activity and improve nutrition, could create health care savings of more than $16 billion annually within five years. In 2012, the Massachusetts (11.2% Latino) became the first state to use a wellness trust as … Read more

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SA! Resource Policy Intervention to Increase Physical Activity Among Early Childcare and Education Programs

ECE PA Active EArly

About 60% of kids under the age of 6 are placed in some form of non-parental care-early childcare and education (ECE)-during the work week. Thus, these settings are promising environments to provide obesity-prevention resources and establish physical activity habits early in childhood, particularly for Latino kids who are at greater risk for obesity-related health problems … Read more

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SA! Resource Policy Brief: 4 Strategies for Creating Healthy, Equitable Land Use in Los Angeles

land use

All neighborhoods are not created equal. Your city’s land use policies determine your access to public goods and resources like transit options, employment opportunities, healthy food, walkable and bikeable neighborhoods, quality schools, parks and green space, and much more. Thus, your city’s land use policies shape your health. Read about nationwide disparities in active zoning and … Read more

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SA! Change YMCA is Teaching Skills that Save Lives to 18,000 Kids in Underserved Neighborhoods

YMCA swimming

United States

Lack of diversity in USA Swimming’s infrastructure became a hot topic in 2006, after Cullen Jones became the first African-American to hold a world record (4×100-meter freestyle relay) in swimming. Lack of diversity resurfaced this year at the Rio 2016 Olympics after Simone Manuel became the first ever African-American woman to win an individual Olympic Gold medal in swimming. A lack of minorities … Read more

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SA! Change Transportation is a Key to Financial Equity


Columbus, Ohio

The city of Columbus, Ohio (6% Latino population), unveiled the city’s newest bike trail, the Camp Chase Trail, in early August of 2016. The trail connects some of the city’s busiest streets for bikers and will provide much needed access to city streets. “It’s a great trail that will absolutely connect the neighborhoods together,” said … Read more

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Salud Hero San Antonio Provides Free Fitness Classes in Parks Across the City

Fitness in the Park Boot Camp class on Saturday morning at Phil Hardberger Park.
Source: Michael Baldwin

United States

Pete Garcia spent several years as a personal trainer in San Antonio, learning first-hand that many residents in at-risk parts of the city struggled with obesity and related health problems. So when Garcia became the city’s supervisor of athletics and programs, he wanted to develop and implement programs that would increase access to physical activity … Read more

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SA! Resource Research Brief: Disparities in Park Quality and Pedestrian Streetscape Environments

city council

According to an Active Living Research research brief, of the following two new studies shed light on how to make neighborhoods more physical activity-friendly for all people, regardless of income or race: Disparities in pedestrian streetscape environments by income and race/ethnicity Socioeconomic and race/ethnic disparities in observed park quality Both studies found evidence of “disparities” … Read more

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SA! Resource USA Swimming Foundation Surpasses 4 Million Children Served Through Swim Lessons

swim viva swim

Ten people drown each day in the United States. Seventy percent of African-American children, 60 percent of Latino children, and 40 percent of Caucasian children have low or no swimming ability, which increases their risk of drowning and drowning related injuries and shuts them off from numerous water activities that are associated with physiological, emotional, and behavioral development. Young … Read more

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SA! Change Georgia DOT and Pedestrian Safety Advocacy Group Survey Residents About Barriers to Walking in their Community

ped safety


The Georgia Department of Transportation and Pedestrians Educating Drivers on Safety (PEDS) are developing an action plan aimed at increasing safety for people who walk. First, they are gathering input from Georgia residents about the challenges they face while walking in their community. It is essential for decision makers at the city and state level to seek community … Read more

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SA! Change How Massachusetts is Incentivizing Complete Streets

Eligible inrastructure and sample costs for MassDOT Complete Streets projects.


In April, 2014 the Governor of Massachusetts signed the Transportation Bond Bill, which authorized $50 million dollars for the creation of Complete Streets policies. Complete Streets are defined as streets that provide accommodations for users of all transportation modes including, but not limited to, walking, cycling public transportation, automobiles, and freight. States and local governments across the … Read more

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Salud Hero Foster Mom Mobilizes Effort to Save Pool in Low-Income Minneapolis Neighborhood

The Phillips Pool, seen in 2014, sat empty and unused since 2009. Source: Start Tribune

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Hannah Lieder, foster mother and founder of Minneapolis Swims, has been working since 2010 to keep open the local Phillips Pool in a disadvantaged neighborhood in Minneapolis, Minn. Why? Lieder knows that children living in low-income, Latino, or minority neighborhoods have historically lacked convenient access to physical activity spaces, particularly swimming pools, compared to white … Read more

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Public Hub Hub Tree: Salud America!

Salud America! is a national online network of researchers, community group leaders, decision-makers, and members of the public working together to support healthy policy and environmental changes that can help reverse obesity among Latino children.

The network, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is a project of the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Policies, comments, external links, and contributed stories and images are not affiliated with Salud America!, RWJF, or The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, nor do they necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by these organizations.

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