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 Review
Infographic: Safe Neighborhoods
Infographic: Safe Streets
Infographic: Shared Use

Active Spaces: What‘s New?

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

SA! Change Experimental Lab Leads to Underground Park in Abandoned Trolley Terminal

Latino Health Walkability Green Space

New York, New York

An underground lab experiment in New York City (28.6% Latino) just successfully tested if solar panel skylights could sustain plant life to determine if an underground park could thrive. This lab experiment is the result of five years of discussions about transforming the Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal, which stopped servicing passengers in 1948, into an underground park with … Read more

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SA! Resource New List Cites the Healthiest & Unhealthiest Cities in the U.S.

For many Americans, where they live often dictates how healthy they are. For Latinos, where they live often creates inequities and disparities; residential segregation often leads to a lack of access to care, lack of educational attainment, and financial inequity. The financial site WalletHub examined the notion of healthy cities recently. Cities across the country … Read more

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SA! Resource Mind the Gap: Using Public Transportation to Connect Neighborhoods and Grocery Stores

Latino Health FArmers Market Public Transportation

Public transportation matters for healthy food access. When grocery stores aren’t close to home, which is the case in many Latino neighborhoods, people lack access to healthy food-and many other destinations. Public transportation can play a huge role in connecting families in disadvantaged areas with healthy resources to build a culture of health for everyone. … Read more

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SA! Resource New Report Identifies “Root Causes” of Health Inequity

Health inequities in the United States are a rampant problem, especially for minorities such as Latinos. The U.S. has higher rates of infant mortality and shorter life expectancies than other wealthy nations. There are deep racial, ethnic, and socio-economic disparities that persist at the county and state levels throughout the country that impact millions of … Read more

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SA! Change County-wide Health Initiative to Open School Grounds After Hours in Arizona

Latino Health Physical Activity School Shared Use

Roosevelt Elementary District, Arizona

School playgrounds, fields, and gyms sit unused afterschool and on weekends in Maricopa County, Arizona (30.5% Latino), and across the country, because schools are locked up after classes end. Access to safe places to play is critical to reduce obesity among Latino kids and families and boost their mental, physical, and emotional health. However, schools close … Read more

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SA! Change Connecticut Transforms Former Mall into a Green Space

Meriden, Connecticut

Malls are often partially blamed for the decay of walkable downtowns and linked with greater vehicle dependence, thus depriving cities of sustainable economic growth and safe places for kids and families to walk. A failed mall in Meriden, Connecticut (28.7% Latino) was transformed into the type of public space that boosts mental, physical, and emotional … Read more

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SA! Resource 19 Evidence-Based Strategies for Recess

Latino Health Physical Activity Recess School

Recess can help kids get their 60 minutes of recommended daily physical activity to reduce their risk of developing lifelong chronic diseases, like heart disease, and diabetes, and to improve their academic performance and mental health. Unfortunately, Latino kids have fewer opportunities before, after, and during school for physical activity than white kids. The Centers for … Read more

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SA! Change APHA’s 1 Billion Steps Challenge

Latino Health Walking

United States

Walking is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your health! Unfortunately many Latino families lack access to safe places to walk and play, thus face health disparities. The America Public Health Association is hosting a billion mile challenge to encourage everyone to log some steps and to start the conversation about designing … Read more

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SA! Resource Soul of the Community Survey Research Brief

Latino Health Physical Activity Equity

Perceptions of place impact behavior, thus health. Think of specific places, like neighborhoods, sidewalks, and parks; specific physical activity behaviors like walking, playing, and biking; and specific health issues, like heart disease, diabetes, and depression. Latino children often lack access-both real and perceived-to safe, available places to be physically active, thus their mental, physical, and emotional … Read more

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SA! Resource 6 Reasons Why Walking is the Daily Brain Medicine We Really Need

Latino health walking

In addition to reducing your risk for heart disease, diabetes, 13 types of cancer, and numerous other lifelong health complications, physical activity, like walking, also boosts your mood, and improves academic performance, creativity, and your memory. Physical activity plays a critical role in reducing health disparities among Latinos because they face disproportionately more barriers to … Read more

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SA! Change Bipartisan Approval in Congress for the National Park Service Centennial Act

Latino Health Parks Physical Activity

United States

The National Parks Service is $12 billion behind in needed repairs to park infrastructure, such as deteriorating trails, buildings, and structures in our national parks. In December 2016, the House and the Senate approved the National Park Service Centennial Act (H.R. 4680) to help address the $12 billion maintenance backlog by leveraging federal funds with private … Read more

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SA! Change The Healthiest Cities in the U.S. for Latinos

Boston, Massachusetts

Do you live in one of the countries healthiest cities? More and more cities are recognizing the importance building a culture of health for their citizens. Many have added built environment features, such as improved walkways and bike lanes for people to add more activity into their daily lives. Increasing access to green spaces, such … Read more

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SA! Resource Bike/Ped Projects Create 46% More Jobs Than Road-Only Projects

Latino Health Physical Activity Sidewalks Bike Lanes Walking Solar

Our nation is facing high rates of Latino childhood obesity, unsustainable dependence on carbon-based energy, and high unemployment. Beyond the known health and environmental benefits of sidewalks and bike lanes, what are the employment impacts of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure? A 2011 study compares 58 projects from transportation and public works departments from 11 cities and found … 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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