This week is Love Parks Week an awareness raising campaign to encourage us all to get from behind our computer desks and get our pasty skin and squinty eyes out into the sunshine and enjoy the wonder that is our local parks and green spaces. Parks are not only nice to look at, but they are believed to increase our well being, as according to GreenLink 91% of us report that they improve our quality of life and those who frequently visits parks also proclaim to suffer from less stress-induced illnesses. Our parks are visited by more than half the population weekly and over the course of a year are visited on average 2.5 to 3 billion times. There are fears that with the public spending cuts that our ‘slash happy’ government is dishing out, that our parks and green spaces could become their latest victims.
This is quite an alarming prospect especially at a time when excuse the pun but we are in the midst of a huge global problem with 1.5 billion adults and 43 million children under the age of five being recorded as either over-weight or obese. Obesity is quickly becoming one of the biggest health crises to hit the modern world with one in four adults and one in ten children within the United Kingdom being afflicted with the condition. If existing trends continue without intervention then by 2050 we will be dealing with a population of over 50% of adults and 25% of children recorded as obese. This is a genuine cause for concern, as the health implications associated with being over-weight and/or obese are tremendous; the biggest killers are heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and various cancers. It has been reported that the costs to the NHS every year is a staggering £4.2 billion with approximately 2.6 million people dying every year as a consequence of being over-weight or obese.
Public health anxieties associated with obesity and poor diet are at a fever pitch with much air-time has been spent championing these concerns through programming such as Jamie Oliver’s school-dinners, supersize-vs-superskinny kids and the BBC Three show Fast Food Baby. Successive government’s have raised their concerns through the national advertising campaign Change 4 Life, which seeks to reach out to families, provide information and a change of attitude towards food and exercise in the hope of halting and even reversing the obesity time bomb that our nation is sitting upon. Ironically though local authorities have no legal obligation to provide, invest or maintain local parks or green spaces in-spite of the fact that are known to give various health providing benefits.
I personally find the prospect that our public parks and green spaces could come under the governments axe, a scary proposition. So this week if you don’t already, then go and show your local park some love and click on the Love Parks link to discover what is going on in your local area to promote this important campaign. This Friday I will be opening up a Love Parks Linky so that we can all share our outdoor adventures. This can be in the form of a photo gallery, written post, vlog or a combination of all three; the only limit is your own imagination!
Until then, click on the link below to enter our exciting Love Parks Week competition.