Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Soda Can and the Hulu Hoop: Why Distance is an Important Factor in Recreation Equipment Lending


Today  I  was talking to a Recreation Center supervisor about the idea of loaning Hula Hoops  at a library for use in the park adjacent to the library. She said to me a Hula Hoop cost little more than a dollar, why not just bring your own to the park.

Here's why...

This park has   food conveniently offered  at this well staffed  Shake Shack, a heck of a lot of people are enjoying the convenience of having eating and outdoor seats adjacent to each other


                                          Total Number of Participants in eating= A LOT

Adjacent to this eatery is a play area, you have to bring your own equipment to play here. Mostly the area is vacant

                     "Bring  Your Own Bottle" Active Recreation area in Madison Square Park
 Total participants active recreation =2

You don't have to bring your own fork to a restaurant.
You do have to bring your own recreation equipment to a park


Many conservancy parks and BID Plazas  these days have food concessions. You want a can of soda, you simply go to the food concession and purchase it,. On justifying adding more food concessions the Hudson River Park in NYC said...


We want to make sure that we have enough variety in the park so that people don't need to leave in the middle of their activity to grab something to eat or drink," a Trust spokeswoman said Wednesday. "This is about making the Hudson River Park experience even better for our visitors."

A person may live many blocks away from a park, so Hudson River Park as part of "making the HRP experience even better"  has made it as easy as possible to get a can of soda. They do not ask you to go to bring it from your house. They do ask you to bring a Hula Hoop(or other active recreation equipment)  from your home.

Drinking a can of soda  is not a healthy recreation activity*, yet in many parks and BID Plazas it is made as easy as possible to get it anytime you want .

Hula Hooping   is a healthy recreation activity , but you currently have to bring it from your house if you want to use it in a public space.

So the unhealthy activity is made as easy as possible to do in the park anytime you want , and to participate in the healthy activity at the park you can only do so if you bring equipment from your home.

 And that's why it's important to have active recreation equipment available as close as possible to a park, as the food recreation people have ascertained-convenience  matters in creating a pleasurable park  experience.

It's also the reason why when a city agency allows a  park, plaza  or other public space to  offer "Food as Recreation" the agency should stipulate that "Healthy Recreation" activities must also be offered in that public space. And these activities must be as convenient as the food recreation offering.

Recently I talked to a parks  designer about food recreation and the lack of alternatives in the space he was designing. He then pointed out to me a playing field behind the eatery he was proposing.   No this is not an equivalent item.  It is a Soda- Hula Hoop situation. The eatery allows you to buy and eat while on the premise, a very convenient situation. To use the playing field you have to bring your own recreation equipment to the premise and then use the equipment , a very inconvenient situation.

* "Physical activity is important and certainly helps, experts say. But studies show that exercise increases appetite, causing people to consume more calories. Exercise also expends far fewer calories than most people think. A 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola, for example, contains 140 calories and roughly 10 teaspoons of sugar. “It takes three miles of walking to offset that one can of Coke,” Dr. Popkin said"  .  link

 Did you know that M&Ms are really football fields? To find out what this means, take a small bag of M&Ms and go to the back of the end zone at your local football field. Open the bag, take out one M&M and eat it. Now start walking to the other end of the football field and into the far end zone. You’ve just walked 120 yards and burned off one M&M link

from fitCity 7

But while obesity may not be the Black Death, it is a severe public health crisis. Experts agree that as more and more obese children become obese adults, the diseases associated with obesity, such as heart disease, cancer, and especially diabetes will surge. That will mean a lot of sick people.”

  A new report reveals staggering statistics about the extent to which the obesity epidemic is robbing Americans of their health and longevity. Columbia University and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation examined the real impact of obesity on death rates.1

The study found that nearly one in five US deaths is associated with obesity, which is more than three times higher than previous estimates.   link

Active park users were less likely to be overweight than those who had longer park visits and either used the park for passive activities or did not use the park at all “ link

 see also Fun Without Food