Obesity rates among California’s adult population are staggering, as seen in a recent study, Obesity in California, from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. This afternoon, the Center hosted a seminar to discuss some of the findings in the report and make the connection between social and environmental factors like safety and access to healthy foods and the rise in obesity rates.
Welcome to Friday Facts! Each week we'll be taking a look at a specific chart from the Data & Resources section of our website. This week we're focusing on access to parks in Fresno County.
One of the great things about California is that throughout the year, the weather is conducive to spending time outside. The abundance of parks, beaches, coastlines, and open spaces in the state allows many of its 37 million residents to be outside and be physically active. However, not everyone in the state has equal access to these open spaces for physical activity.
While often we look at disparities between race and ethnic groups, today’s Friday Facts looks more at disparities by region. In today’s table, you can see that just over half of the people in Fresno County live within walking distance (a half mile) of a park or other open space. For comparison, roughly 70% of Los Angeles County residents can easily walk to a park. In Alameda County, that number increases to over 90%.
Obviously population density in Los Angeles and the Bay Area has a lot to do with those higher rates, but the need for more accessible open spaces in the Central Valley is noteworthy. We discussed the importance of parks in our Landscape of Opportunity report:
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Here in California, we’re lucky enough to have some of the most spectacular natural landscapes in the world. I grew up on the East Coast, and while I will always have a soft spot for the Blue Ridge Mountains and Chesapeake Bay, the sheer beauty of California’s beaches, mountains, and deserts is pretty breathtaking. The millions of acres of parks in the state are a resource that all Californians can access and appreciate, and that is in large part thanks to conservation efforts and land trusts that ensure public land stays public.
Public land is important in many ways, but most notably it allows residents areas to be physically active and engage with their environment. Our parks are a public resource that needs to be protected, and there are many individuals and organizations across the state trying to do just that.
For today’s Tuesday Tidbits, we’re looking at a new report from the California Council of Land Trusts’ (CCLT) California Horizons Committee, Conservation Horizons: Keeping Conservation and Land Trusts Vital for the Next Age. As the culmination of 18 months of work, the report examines the current state of land trusts in California and offers recommendations for modernizing the conservation movement to coincide with the state’s changing demographics, politics, and funding.