With research proving play is critical to the overall well-being of children, 241 cities and towns, including Baton Rouge, earned recognition today from national nonprofit KaBOOM! as 2015 Playful City USA communities for their efforts to combat childhood obesity by providing ample opportunities for play. This is the third consecutive year that Baton Rouge has received the honor.
Today’s generation of children play less than any previous generation despite the vast benefits of play. The Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that play is essential to the social, emotional, cognitive and physical well-being of children.
Sponsored by the Humana Foundation, Playful City USA is a national program from KaBOOM! that celebrates and promotes local policies that increase play opportunities for children and is a key platform in combating the lack of play among children.
Mayor-President Melvin L. “Kip” Holden said it’s an honor for Baton Rouge to be named a “Playful City USA” community, but noted that it’s also the result of a lot of hard work.
“This designation fits perfectly with our city’s Healthy City Initiative, which targets childhood obesity by encouraging kids to eat healthier and exercise more. It’s also a testimony to the efforts of BREC, which is one of the top parks and recreation programs in the country, and to the local school system for recognizing the value of physical education,” Mayor Holden said.
Hopscotch sidewalks, structured recess programs, mandated neighborhood play spaces, city-wide play days and mobile recreation vehicles are all ways in which this year’s 241 Playful City USA communities are appealing to residents, and attracting and retaining residents.
“Playability is crucial to the success of our future communities, and we are proud of the work these cities and leaders are doing to provide a better quality of life for all residents, and especially families,” says KaBOOM! President James Siegal. “Play provides a competitive advantage for cities looking to attract and retain residents. With these esteemed leaders, and our friends and partners across the country, we continue to prioritize play for all kids.”
To learn more about these cities, see the full list of the 241 communities named 2015 Playful City USA honorees, or to gather more information on the Playful City USA program, visit www.playfulcityusa.org.