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Goodbye, boring health fairs.
Hello, block parties for health.
City leaders and health advocates in Wilmington, Del. (12.2% Latino), will host about 30 block parties this summer to promote family time, play, and neighborhood health in areas with high rates of obesity, diabetes, and cancer, delawareonline reports.
The block parties, called “Play Street,” will take place from June through August. They’re part of the New Castle Healthy Neighborhoods program made possible by a federal grant.
At each block party, officials block off a part of the streets so families can partake in activities like basketball and jump rope. Healthy snacks and drinks will be on tap. Health screenings will be available.
But no more than two health info booths will be set up.
“We want kids to play. We want families to play. We want them to enjoy themselves in places where they might not feel safe,” Rysheema Dixon, Wilmington City Council member, told delawareonline.
Play Streets as a Concept
The concept of “play streets” goes back many years.
New York defines play streets as “car-free streets on quieter blocks that provide children and communities with space for engaging in active play and physical activity.”
“Play Streets help address the city’s childhood obesity epidemic,” says NYC Health’s website. “[They also allow] children and families to meet and get to know neighbors.”
This Matters to Latinos
Latinos kids need more places to play.
In fact, Latino kids and families often have shockingly limited spaces to be physically active, according to a Salud America! research review.
Play streets and block parties are an emerging solution.
For example, take Síclovía in San Antonio (68% Latino). This event shuts down a major road for several hours to provide a safe, open space for families to “play in the street”.
Síclovía also opens the door to a healthier future for families, according to a study.
“[Síclovía] participants have shared with us how the event encouraged them to adopt a healthier lifestyle,” said Sandy Morander of the YMCA of Greater San Antonio. “We are thrilled that this study confirms we are having an impact on a significant number of attendees.”
How Can You Get Involved?
Parents and community leaders like you can join neighborhood associations and local committees. That way, you can shape local policies and programs.
Perhaps you can even push to start block parties like those in Wilmington. Or Síclovías like in San Antonio.
Check out these other ways to promote healthy spaces in your town: