207508 Audit of State Policies Promoting Open Space and Parks—United States, 2001–2007

Monday, November 9, 2009: 11:00 AM

Judy Kruger, PhD , Office on Smoking and Health, CDC, Atlanta, GA
Tina Lankford, MPH , Dnpao, CDC, Atlanta, GA
Thomas L. Schmid, PhD , Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
The design of communities and the presence or absence of parks and open spaces affects people's ability to be physically active. This study examined state legislative policies which may affect health-promoting community design. State legislative policies introduced from 2001 to 2007 that affects characteristics of parks and open spaces were collected from CDC's Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Legislative Database (DNPAO) and Lexis-Nexis. Eligible policies (n=648) were obtained using keywords: “environmental conservation” or “growth management/land use” or “recreation” or “trails”. The DNPAO database provides an inventory of legislative bills on prevention-related topics for all states, and relevant legislation (N=365) was individually examined after excluding state resolutions, federal local legislative efforts or unrelated topics. Policies were categorized by their status of state legislation: pending (introduced but not adopted), dead or enacted. Results revealed that, more than half (51.5%) of the legislative policies reviewed advocated for creation or acquisition of land (n=73), funding (n=65), or supported accessibility or connectivity of parks (n=50). Only 7 legislative policies suggested health was an implied outcome. As policy assessment is a relatively new area for inquiry, a policy inventory on chronic disease prevention practices may be needed. Because state legislative policies are one avenue to influence the recreational environment, more information on the content and impact of parks and open space policies could help assist public health decision-makers and planners involved in creating conditions that support or encourage an increase in active outdoor recreation.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe different types of policies directed towards parks and open spaces. 2. Describe the current state of legislative policies that constitute the recreational environment. 3. Summarize policies that encourage active recreation in the outdoor setting.

Keywords: Physical Activity, Public Health Legislation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I worked on this paper
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.