State park system receives national public health award

State park system receives national public health award
South Dakota's Division of Parks and Recreation is the first state park system in the nation to be honored by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with its Partner in Advancing Public Health Award.

The award is given by the CDC's Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity to recognize substantial contributions by a state partner to a state's nutrition and physical activity efforts. The division received the award in recognition of its long-standing partnership with the Department of Health's Healthy South Dakota initiative. Healthy South Dakota aims to reduce obesity and related chronic disease through increased physical activity and improved nutrition.

"Parks and recreation staff like to describe the state parks as largest outdoor wellness centers in South Dakota. That mindset makes it very easy for us to work together to promote physical activity and the state park system at the same time," said Secretary of Health Doneen Hollingsworth. "We're proud of that partnership and couldn't be more pleased that CDC has chosen to honor the Division of Parks and Recreation with this award."

Hollingsworth said the Division of Parks and Recreation has worked closely with Healthy South Dakota on a variety projects such as the popular Walk in the Park programs in state parks, the creation of disc golf courses, recreational equipment for checkout to park users, and a Healthy Hunter program tailored to South Dakota hunters.

Hollingsworth presented the award on behalf of CDC at the Game, Fish and Parks Commission meeting June 8 in Pierre.

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