31 Fordham Urb. L.J. 1267 (2003-2004)
Healthy Children, Healthy Communities: Schools, Parks, Recreation, and Sustainable Regional Planning

handle is hein.journals/frdurb31 and id is 1285 raw text is: HEALTHY CHILDREN, HEALTHY
COMMUNITIES: SCHOOLS, PARKS,
RECREATION, AND SUSTAINABLE
REGIONAL PLANNING
Robert Garcia, Erica S. Flores, & Sophia Mei-ling Chang*
INTRODUCTION
If current trends in obesity, inactivity, and disease continue, to-
day's youth will be the first generation in this nation's history to
face a shorter life expectancy than their parents.' Physical inactiv-
ity and poor nutrition habits are second only to tobacco use as a
leading cause of preventable deaths each year and are responsible
for an estimated 400,000 deaths annually.2 Adult onset diabetes
now increasingly strikes children at younger and younger ages. As
a result, children are more likely to suffer long range effects includ-
ing death, loss of limbs, and blindness. This health crisis currently
costs the U.S. over $100 billion each year.
All communities suffer from obesity and inactivity, but commu-
nities of color and low income communities suffer first and worst.
Communities of color and low-income communities are dispropor-
tionately denied the benefits of safe open spaces for physical activ-
ity in parks and schools, and disproportionately suffer from obesity
related diseases. Urban areas like Los Angeles, for example, sys-
* Robert Garcfa is Executive Director, and Erica S. Flores and Sophia Mei-ling
Chang are Staff Attorneys, at the Center for Law in the Public Interest in Los Ange-
les, CA, www.clipi.org. Thank you to Amber Richer, Policy Analyst, for her invalua-
ble research assistance. This work is made possible in part by the generous support of
the Ford, Resources Legacy Fund, Packard, and Surdna Foundations.
1. Eloisa Gonzalez, MD, MPH, L.A. County Dep't of Public Health, Los Ange-
les Unified School District (LAUSD) Citizens' School Bond Oversight Committee,
Jan. 21, 2004; see also Jennifer Radcliffe, Going to War against Epidemic of Childhood
Obesity, DAILY NEWS, Jan. 27, 2004, at 1.
2. Rosie Mestel, Obesity Gaining on Tobacco as Top Killer, L.A. TIMES, Mar. 10,
2004; see Chronic Disease Directors, Nutrition, Physical Activity & Obesity, available
at http://www.chronicdisease.org/0602-nutrition- physical-activ.html (last visited June
30, 2004); see also L.A. County Task Force on Children and Youth Physical Fitness,
Paving the Way for Physically Fit and Healthy Children: Findings and Recommenda-
tions, [hereinafter Paving the Way], available at http://lapublichealth.org/mch/reports/
Board%20reportfinal.pdf (last visited June 30, 2004) .

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