A collaborative framework that influences the promotion of policy related to physical activity should include parks and recreation as well as public health practitioners and researchers. As governments at all levels become increasingly focused on the impact of public resources, park and recreation agencies are challenged to document and demonstrate the impact of leisure services. Public policy associated with parks and recreation is driven by public interest and is often debated in the absence of relevant research to demonstrate the determinants and correlates of parks and recreation to address prevailing social conditions. This paper describes current policy and funding issues faced by public parks and recreation professionals responding to increasing physically active leisure across the lifespan of Americans. We also discuss how a collaborative framework approach can be used to inform public policy designed to increase the physical activity of the American public.
Spangler is with the National Recreation and Park Association, Ashburn, VA 20148. Caldwell is with the Dept of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802.