“Shared-use” agreements are one of the main childhood obesity policies that Kentucky Youth Advocates believes has traction in the state right now. Children with access to recreational facilities close to home have shown to be more physically active and have lower obesity rates than those without access. A “shared use” policy can be a formal agreement between two entities, typically a school and another agency such as a city government or a YMCA, to share school facilities during non-school hours or they can be informal, in that a school allows community members to use facilities for exercise without a formal contract with another agency.
We have promoted the adoption of these local polices for several years; we also advocated for the passage of SB 110 a couple years ago that addressed schools’ legitimate fear of liability. The law encourages schools to keep their facilities open after hours and extends the same immunities schools have during the school day to after hours, making liability protections more clear.
Voices for Healthy Kids, a national partnership between the American Health Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have recently released a new toolkit called “Unlock the Doors.” To receive access to the toolkit, click here. The toolkit includes a master toolkit, banners, flyers, fact sheets, social media posts, statistics, and additional guidance designed for local communities to use to improve childhood obesity trends by adopting shared use agreements.