The July 18 Metro article about Antwan Williams’s passion to create safe places for community youths to play hit home for me [“A dream in progress”].
It’s a worthy fight. According to the D.C. action plan for obesity, about 1 in 3 children living in the District is at risk of being overweight or is already overweight, which is among the highest rates in the country. With a clear link between physical activity and weight, as well as scholastic performance and self-esteem, we need to ensure kids can play safely close to home.
There is an additional solution that can affect our communities dramatically: D.C. Public Schools. Although many are open for use by community groups and residents, most of the schools in our most at-risk wards — 4, 5, 7 and 8, which have the highest rates of obesity and chronic disease — are not.
It’s not because of a lack of interest from the schools. Formation of a program to ease the process of establishing “shared use” or “community use” agreements is an opportunity that lies before the D.C. Council and would provide much-needed access to school recreational facilities.
Let’s support these efforts and help our kids lead active lives safely in their own communities.
Nancy Chapman, Washington
The writer is president of
Advocates for Better Children’s Diets.