Combatting childhood obesity in zip code 78745 through opportunities for free physical activity



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The worldwide obesity epidemic is cause for alarm because of its link to major, life threatening diseases such as cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. Not only adults, but also children, are suffering from increasing rates of overweight and obesity. This is a matter of serious concern not just because of the specific diseases that are affecting growing numbers of children, but also because overweight and obesity in childhood greatly increase the likelihood that those children will be obese as adults. The incidence of childhood obesity in Texas is significantly higher than the U.S. average. One of the two Austin, Texas zip codes with the highest rates of childhood obesity is zip code 78745. A coalition of concerned residents, government representatives, nonprofit leaders, and religious activists known as Go Austin!/Vamos Austin! (GAVA) has spearheaded an initiative to combat childhood obesity in the zip code. One of GAVA’s three foci is physical activity. This professional report analyzes the physical activity opportunities for children in 78745 through free, publicly available recreation facilities and green spaces. It identifies those spaces that are closest to the childhood obesity hotspots and recommends actions that can be taken by the city, the school district, nonprofits, area businesses, and local residents to increase physical activity among area children through existing and proposed opportunities.