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A goal of the Anaheim Outdoors Connectivity Plan (Plan) is to provide additional opportunities for improved public health by encouraging non-motorized access throughout the City. Convenient trails, exercise stations, air and water quality improvements, community gardens, enhanced neighborhood parks and pocket parks will encourage greater, healthy multi-generational activity throughout the City.

The following topics describe how this Plan proposes to improve health in the City of Anaheim.

3.1 Increase and promote non-motorized transportation options

Fitness can be incorporated into everyday activities. During the community outreach residents have expressed a need for better sidewalks in their neighborhoods. Due to the current economic climate, many people can no longer afford to subscribe to health clubs and are instead looking to their neighborhoods for taking walks and recreating. It is important to make changes where people live, work and play in order to make it easier for people to be active and rely less on their vehicles.

Reuben Ingold Park, LA County

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3.2 Build trails with exercise stations

Many parks are now incorporating modern exercise stations into their trail systems. These stations contain simplified versions of popular health club items including stair steppers and elliptical machines. These easy-to-use machines draw users from every age group. In the City of Anaheim, both Stoddard and Edison Parks have exercise stations and the City is looking for more opportunities to install these stations.

Exercise machines at Dills Park, Paramount

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3.3 Create fitness loops with mileage/time markers

Creating fitness loops with mileage markers gives people the option of a 15min walk, a 30min walk, or more. This feature helps keep people motivated when they realize they are walking further each time. It also reduces feelings of intimidation for those who have limited ability by presenting achievable goals. There is a great example of utilizing mile markers at Anaheim Coves. The Plan recommends including these types of features, as well as encouraging users to utilize technological applications on their hand-held devices to chart distances and let people know how many calories they’ve burned.

Walking circuit at Liberty Park, Cerritos

Mile marker at Anaheim Coves

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3.4 Improve existing parks with focus on healthy living

Existing parks often contain fields that only get used on occasion. There is an opportunity to utilize these spaces for exercise. For instance, the steps of ball field bleachers can be used as an exercise station along a fitness course. Minor improvements can go a long way towards contributing to a more active community. Lighting at park facilities can significantly extend evening opportunities for family exercise, particularly in the winter months.

Prescription for a Healthy Lifestyle

Kids getting active at Liberty Park, Cerritos

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3.5 Establish programs with health care agencies (i.e. Kaiser Permanente, OC Health, etc.)

Kaiser Permanente’s HEAL Zones program is a perfect example of how health care agencies are joining with communities in the battle against obesity. The Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Zones initiative invests money into specific communities who pledge to increase opportunities for engaging in healthy behaviors. Activate Anaheim, led by The Anaheim Family YMCA, has recently been awarded a HEAL Zone grant by Kaiser Permanente. The specific area of focus for this grant is bordered by Lincoln St., State College, the 91 freeway and East St., and encompasses 13,124 residents.

Shopping for produce

Anaheim’s HEAL Zone plan focuses on getting the entire community involved, including parents, students, teachers and principals, markets, restaurants, and local schools (Edison Elementary, Lincoln Elementary and Sycamore Junior High). Some strategies include engaging residents as “Champion Moms/Dads”; adding trails and bike routes; establishing shared community spaces for outdoor play; working with local businesses to make healthy food options more accessible; and providing more opportunities for physical activity before, during and after school.

Activate Anaheim is leading efforts for Anaheim’s HEAL Zone

Activate Anaheim, the team responsible for implementing the HEAL Zone plan, is a robust coalition of partners led by the Anaheim Family YMCA, and includes the City of Anaheim, Disneyland Resort, Anaheim Police Department, Anaheim City and Anaheim Union High School districts, Kaiser Permanente, Tiger Woods Learning Center, Orange County Health Care Agency, and local organizations and resident leaders.

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3.6 Promote the availability of fresh, local, healthful food

A major contributor to obesity and illness among urban citizens is the lack of healthy food choices. As fast food chains and convenience stores are increasing in numbers, the presence of fresh, nutritious food sources is dwindling. People eat what is convenient and affordable. In order to counteract this urban health crisis, fresh, local, healthful food should be made available throughout the City.

Awareness programs to teach people the value of healthy eating will be essential in keeping these foods available. Community gardens, school gardens and farmers market venues can provide real opportunities to improve nutrition.

School garden, Chabot School, Oakland

In Anaheim, the Hi Neighbor Community Gardens movement, spearheaded by active community members, is currently working to install temporary community gardens in vacant and unused spaces throughout the City. To date it has established three Hi Neighbor community gardens, one in west Anaheim, one in south, and one in the east. Two additional community gardens are planned for downtown Anaheim and near La Palma Park. Each location is accessible to nearby residents and groups who are beginning to participate in the program. Existing and proposed community gardens are shown on the Connectivity Plan Map in Appendix A.

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3.7 Reduce obesity through improved access to recreation

Childhood obesity has both immediate and longterm effects on health and well-being. Prevention is the number one solution to reducing this harmful epidemic. Teaching children from a young age about healthy lifestyle habits is essential. Physical activity is a key element of a maintaining a healthy lifestyle and it can be encouraged by establishing attractive, exciting areas for play.

School garden, Chabot School, Oakland

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3.8 Combat "Nature Deficit Disorder"

Nature Deficit Disorder refers to the trend that children are spending less time outdoors, resulting in a wide range of behavioral problems. Especially in urban environments, children are more likely to spend after school hours at their computer or video screens rather than outdoors. This lack of activity and connection to the natural environment puts children at risk for mood disorders and childhood obesity.

Getting children excited about walking, biking and play is a critical step in combating Nature Deficit Disorder and promoting a future citizenry that values the environment. Parks and green spaces provide a place for hands-on exploration of plants, trees, bugs and many other types of nature. The Plan encourages the preservation and development of native habitat, demonstration gardens and open play spaces for kids to learn from and interact with living things.

Looking for bugs, Monteverde Park, Lakewood

Adults and Senior citizens are also at risk for Nature Deficit Disorder. Adults are spending more time at their computers, on their phones and watching the ever-expanding options of television programming. Access and accessibility often limit seniors’ use of natural open spaces.

Several of the Opportunity Sites described in the Plan offer choices for people of all ages to get connected with the outdoors on a daily basis. The Plan also recommends incorporating ADA standards and guidelines at all parks and greenways within the City. The following proposed projects will include the opportunity to explore natural plant and animal habitats: Nohl Ranch Road Open Space, Olive Hills Park Improvements, Five Coves North, and Crescent Basin Open Space and Trail Improvements. These projects are described in detail in Chapter 8 of this document.

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