Thirteen thousand children under the age of 5 who live within two miles of the Evergreen Recreation Center in Boyle Heights will soon have access to new play equipment; equipment which a coalition of city officials and local organizations say they hope will help them stay active and decrease the number of children who are obese or overweight.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held last week to mark the start of the installation of new outdoor equipment for youth and adults at the Evergreen Recreation Center located on East 2nd Street in the eastside Los Angeles neighborhood. The Department of Recreation and Parks, Councilman José Huizar, First 5 LA and the Los Angeles Neighborhoods Initiative (LANI) partnered to bring the upgrades to the park.
Lea esta nota EN ESPAÑOL: Parque Evergreen Consigue Equipos de Juegos y Ejercicio 
A new adult fitness zone, a tot-lot for children up to 5 years old, and a playground for youth 5-12 years old are among the improvements being made at the park — one of 40 such park projects being built in Los Angeles County to address what First 5 LA has called “one of the most significant health threats facing L.A. County”: childhood obesity.
According to the press release announcing the project, studies show that children who do not regularly engage in physical activity and who lack access to sidewalks, walking paths, parks, or playgrounds have a 20 to 45 percent higher chance of being obese or overweight than youngsters who have these amenities available.
First 5 has invested nearly $12 million countywide in “Tot Parks and Trails projects and the City of Los Angeles’ Recreation and Parks Department,” according to First 5 LA Program Officer Karen Robertson-Fall.
“By providing spaces for play and physical activity, the Evergreen Park will promote exercise and help youngsters maintain a healthy weight.”
Huizar said that working with the city’s recreation and parks department and groups like LANI and First 5 LA has resulted in “more than 100 acres of open space, new parks, and improvements to all of the parks in Council District 14,” which he represents. “This new tot-lot, youth playground and new exercise equipment will allow people of all ages to stay active and healthy here at Evergreen Recreation Center,” Huizar said.
LANI’s executive director, Veronica Hahni, said First 5’s investment “helped bring the community’s vision for an improved playground to fruition,” by providing a “much needed opportunity for outdoor play and physical activity at Evergreen Park.”