Manel Kappagoda is deputy director of the National Policy & Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NPLAN) housed at Public Health Law & Policy (PHLP) in Oakland, California. Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NPLAN provides legal and policy technical assistance on obesity prevention strategies to communities nationwide. Since its inception in 2007, the program has responded to thousands of technical assistance requests on healthy eating and active living strategies.
We’ve never needed safe play spaces in our communities more than we do now. Nearly a third of kids and adolescents in America – and two-thirds of adults – are overweight or obese.Many are urged to get more exercise but can’t follow this advice very easily where they live. Walking and bicycling are dangerous on roads designed for cars. Safe parks and playgrounds can be few and far between, especially in low-income communities.