Open Doors to Physical Activity in Your Community!
Studies show that people who have parks or recreational facilities nearby exercise 38 percent more than those who don't have easy access. Unfortunately, safe places to get physical activity aren't always available – but they could be.
Schools are present in nearly every Iowa community and can offer a variety of safe, clean facilities, including running tracks, pools, gymnasiums, fitness rooms, and playgrounds. Unfortunately, schools that might like to offer these facilities often close their property to the public after school hours due to concerns about liability.
Community Use legislation would not mandate that schools open their facilities after hours, but would simply alleviate concerns about liability for those that would like to provide access to the surrounding community.
We know the many benefits of increased physical activity, especially for school-aged children – reduced obesity, better overall health and improved academic performance. Sign the petition to help remove barriers for Iowa's schools so that everyone, particularly our kids, can have access to safe places to be active!
As your constituent and an advocate for the American Heart Association, I encourage you to support Community Use of Schools bills (SF 428 and HF 570) which address liability in regards to shared use agreements.
In order for adults and children to get the physical activity they need to be healthy, they need places to be active. Research shows that people who have parks or recreational facilities nearby exercise 38 percent more than those who do not have easy access. Unfortunately, safe places to get physical activity aren't always available – but they could be.
Schools can offer a variety of safe, clean facilities, including running tracks, pools, gymnasiums, fitness rooms, and playgrounds. A recent survey commissioned by the Bridging Solutions for a Healthier Iowa Coalition found that schools are overwhelmingly willing to open their doors but don't because of unclear liability laws. In fact, the survey showed that 64.2% of superintendents would be more inclined to open their facilities with liability protection.
The survey, conducted by Victory Enterprises in late November, found that shared-use has a strong base of support among Iowa's superintendents with 72.8% indicating that they either currently have agreements or believe them to be beneficial for their school. There is a strong interest and desire for partnerships from the local communities these districts represent as only 2.6% of respondents cited a lack of community interest as a barrier.
In many communities, the school is the only space available for physical activity during the winter. Community Use of Schools legislation won't force schools to open their doors and playgrounds to the community, but provides protection for those that want to make these opportunities available.
I urge your support of SF 428 and HF 570 to help us create a heart-healthy Iowa and ensure that schools who want to open their facilities are comfortable doing so.
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