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.