Missoula is proactive regarding health.

• With the importance of activity to combat our nation’s obesity crisis, the lack of fields has significant impacts on the health of area residents.

• Missoula Underage Substance Abuse Prevention Community Report Card 2011 quotes the  Missoula City-County Health Department as saying “In the past three decades the national percentage of youth who are obese grew from 7% to 19% in children (6-11 years) and from 5% to 17% in adolescents (12-19 years). Children age 6 and older need at least 1 hour of physical activity a day. Based on this data, the Missoula community has developed a childhood obesity initiative, that includes, among other things: Visit the parks and walking/biking trails in your community.”

• As reported by the Rand Corporation, many studies show that parks and proximity to parks and trails play an important role in promoting exercise and reducing obesity.

• Living near a park is associated with engaging in more exercise, and one study found that youth who live within one-half mile of a park are more physically active than other children.

• According to a 2010 survey, trails are the most sought recreation facility in Missoula. 80% of Missoula City and Missoula County residents want more trails.

• Parks such as FMRP are particularly inclusive providing walking, historic interpretation, fishing, river access, social opportunities, and community events for all. Phase 1 of development, our current appropriations requests, includes the most critical needs for the greater Missoula area.