Joint Use


The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has secured a Communities Putting Prevention to Work obesity prevention grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to implement policy and environmental change strategies that will increase physical activity and prevent obesity. California Active Communities is working with California Project LEAN (Leaders Encouraging Activity and Nutrition) within CDPH to implement this grant and to advance state and local joint use policies and best practices that will increase student and community access to school facilities for physical activity and recreation outside of the school day.

Why support joint use of school facilities?

Many communities across California lack safe, well maintained, and accessible places for community members to be physically active. Access to no or low-cost public spaces for physical activity plays a critical role in the prevention and treatment of obesity and overweight. Schools often provide the only safe space for recreation and physical activity for students, families, and the community. Yet, many school gates are locked during non-school hours – joint use policies and practices can mean schools opening their gates to share recreational facilities/spaces before, during and/or after the school day. The sharing of school facilities optimizes resources and promotes opportunities for physical activity for both students and the greater community.

What is joint use?

Joint use refers to two or more entities, usually a school district and a governmental agency or private organization, sharing indoor and/or outdoor recreational facilities/spaces such as gymnasiums, athletic fields, green spaces or other play areas.

Why is joint use needed to increase opportunities for safe, everyday physical activity?

Joint use of school grounds

The 2009 California Department of Education Fitnessgram results demonstrate at least 30 percent of 5th, 7th, and 9th graders are either overweight or obese, and at least 33 percent do not meet age appropriate aerobic fitness levels. Results from the 2007 California Health Interview Survey indicate 34.4 percent of adults in California are overweight and 22.7 percent are obese. Obesity and overweight limit a person’s ability to live a full and active life. Chronic health conditions, once thought to affect only adults, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are showing up in children and teens. Obesity lowers a person’s self-esteem and can negatively affect a person’s self-image. Additionally, these social and psychological consequences can have a detrimental impact on a child’s ability to learn in the classroom.

For more information on joint use policies and practices visit the websites listed below:

Joint Use Literature Review

Joint Use Policy Examples:

New South Whales Australia: “Community Use of School Facilities Policy”

New South Whales Australia: “Community Use of School Facilities Implementation Procedures”

North Carolina Schools Community Act 1977

Joint Use Reports:

A joint report from the University of California Berkeley’s Center for Cities and Schools and the Public Health Institute’s Public Health Law and Policy Program, “Joint Use School Partnerships in California: Strategies to Enhance Schools and Communities”

A report by the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, “Unlocking the Playground: Achieving Equity in Physical Activity Spaces”

Other Joint Use References:

University of California Berkeley, Center for Cities and Schools

California Joint Use Statewide Taskforce

California Project LEAN

Public Health Institute, Public Health Law and Policy Program’s Joint Use Toolkit

National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities

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