Inc. (SHIRE), Washington, DC, described work in the District of Columbia Ward 8 that targets young children in home-care settings. Through these four presentations and the discussion that followed, this session of the workshop highlighted various types of community-level initiatives across the country, explored their use of and need for evidence, and provided an on-the-ground perspective as new approaches are developed and refined.
When Mr. Mouet became Executive Director of the Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Agency in Santa Ana, he led an effort to change the agency’s mission to include health and fitness. Mouet listed six agency goals that connect use of the park system with healthy living:
Increase places for youth to play sports, with expansion of joint-use areas (such as school fields) as a key approach.
Increase the effectiveness of programming on existing recreational open space, given that Santa Ana’s open space is very limited.
Encourage healthy eating at parks and recreational facilities.
Encourage healthy lifestyles in all Santa Ana homes through a variety of classes and other programs.
Maintain public safety at parks and recreational facilities.
Keep parks green, clean, and beautiful to encourage people to visit them.
The agency uses a variety of data to understand community characteristics and make changes to programs. Santa Ana, the largest city in Orange County, is very densely populated. Fully 76 percent of the population is Hispanic, and a great percentage of these residents are foreign born. The median age is 26. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 percent of Santa Ana children under age 18 live in poverty, double the average in the surrounding county. The state’s open space average is 3 acres per 1,000 residents, but it is less than one-third that amount, or 0.9 acres per 1,000 residents, in Santa Ana. According to data from the California Physical Fitness Test, 40 percent of fifth and seventh graders in the Santa Ana Unified School District are overweight or obese, compared with 29 percent in the rest of Orange County and 32 percent statewide, and fewer of these students meet the state’s six physical fitness standards than is the case elsewhere.
Mouet said soccer is not only the most popular recreational sport in the city, but also an important support and information network for many