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Parks offer reasons to get out, move

Families can enjoy outdoor activities

POSTED: September 22, 2012 11:06 a.m.
Photo by Rosa Warner/

Courtney Schneider, 10, plays soccer with family friend Brian Redding on Tuesday night at the James Brown Park after her game.

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Approximately 33.9 percent of adults in the United States are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control’s website, An additional 34.4 percent are overweight. In 2010, approximately 30.4 percent of Georgians were obese.
As the rates rise, the problem is garnering attention from leaders at all levels. First lady Michelle Obama has made the issue one of her personal campaigns. In February 2009, she launched the website and initiative to raise awareness, educate the public and attempt to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation.
The program encourages parents to get active with their children at least five times a week, if not more. They recommend engaging in at least 60 minutes of physical activity for children and 30 minutes for adults daily.
One local fitness expert agrees. Fort Stewart Youth Sports and Fitness Program Director Sam Porter said daily physical activity can combat obesity in children and adults.
“Kids will mirror what their parents do. If parents are not active and sit around on the couch all the time, their children will mirror that activity,” Porter said. “Parents need to be a role model for their kids. Don’t let the TV be a role model. You be the role model.”
He encourages parents to look for fun activities and make them a daily priority. Most parents probably would agree that’s often easier said than done. Finding time for physical activity while juggling work, school and extracurricular schedules can be difficult. However, Porter believes that if parents make the effort, children happily will participate in healthy activities.
Liberty County residents are fortunate to live in an area with an extended parks-and-recreation system. One needn’t look far for ideas when ample fitness opportunities exist in nearly every corner of the community.
“There is no doubt that our parks in Liberty are far better in quality and in number than in other counties,” Liberty County Recreation Director Jimmy Martin said.
Many recreational facilities are within a reasonable distance from residents’ homes, and they give families an array of options, Martin added. Each recreation area accommodates a variety of activities that allow visitors to get active, whatever their fitness level or goals.
For example, James A. Brown Park on Patriot’s Trail in east Hinesville offers a one-and-a-quarter mile walking trail, softball fields, soccer fields, a recreation center, weight-lifting center and a senior-citizens center. Families can walk, jog or participate in any number of activities.
The county also is home to youth-sports, adult-fitness and summer programs, Martin said, and they’re all affordable, which lets families stay active all year long.
The recreation department director encourages families to visit the LCRD website,, for more information about programs and schedules. Residents can create a free account on the website and add their names to an email list to keep updated on upcoming activities so they won’t miss any registration dates.
Martin also likes to remind Liberty residents about other recreational opportunities outside of parks.
“Living in Liberty, our county has great salt-water coastal access, allowing for other recreational activities such as beach outings, swimming, fishing and boating,” he said.
For more information or to locate a recreation area close to your home, go to the Liberty County Recreational Department’s website at and click the “Facilities” link for a complete list, including descriptions, of each park area.

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