Rec centers as the centerpiece of Baltimore citywide obesity effort

Tim Almaguer, who helped turn Patterson Park into one of the most popular destinations for city residents, said Baltimore should make its rec centers the focus of a bold initiative on childhood obesity.  Almaguer said Baltimore spends $58 per resident on rec centers and parks – 48% below the national average and considerably less than cities with similar demographics such as Pittsburgh ($99 per resident) and Cleveland ($102). Only “good old Detroit,” he said, contributes less than Baltimore – $27 per resident.  Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and other cities have integrated recreation and parks into public health campaigns.  Almaguer suggested Rawlings-Blake call on Johns Hopkins and other major institutions to sponsor youth recreation programs to deal with the skyrocketing increase in childhood obesity, which is translating into type 1 and 2 diabetes and cancer in teens and young adults.

Baltimore Brew

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