While efforts ranging from Let's Move to the CDC's new Childhood Obesity Demonstration Project urge youth to play outside to promote fitness, often kids don't have a place to go.

STC donates new field to Washington, DC middle school

While efforts ranging from Let’s Move to the CDC’s new Childhood Obesity Demonstration Project urge youth to play outside to promote fitness, often kids don’t have a place to go.  That is changing today for Stuart-Hobson Middle School in Washington, D.C., the recipient of a new synthetic playing field from the Synthetic Turf Council, a non-profit trade association. Representing the first industry-wide collaboration of its kind, the initiative showcases how private industry can make a difference in the drive for increased childhood fitness. 

“We are committed to community wellness and environmental responsibility through the use of synthetic turf,” noted Rick Doyle, President of the Synthetic Turf Council. “Our members enthusiastically came together to build a field that increases opportunities for Stuart-Hobson students to be active and play outside.”

Despite its academic excellence, Stuart-Hobson Middle School had an asphalt playground that limited the ability of students to play team sports and increase their fitness levels.  Unveiled during a “ribbon-breaking” ceremony at 10:00 a.m. on October 11, the new 13,200 sq ft, beautiful, safe, grass-like synthetic turf playing surface can be used by students year-round, even in the rain. Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, a noted advocate of childhood fitness, also spoke about the importance of keeping kids active during the event.

“Although Stuart-Hobson has an incredible athletic program, we’ve lacked outside practice fields for our players,” said Principal Dawn Clemens. “This new synthetic turf field will help all of our students increase their physical activity levels.”

In reporting that about 17% of children and adolescents are obese, the Centers for Disease Control notes that the lack of safe, appealing places for kids to play or be active is a major problem in many communities. A rapidly growing solution to this problem is synthetic turf, installed by over 6,000 schools and community parks in the U.S. and Canada in places where it is difficult or impossible to grow natural grass. Eco-friendly benefits include the conservation of more than six billion gallons of water annually and elimination of harmful pesticides and fertilizers. Creating more outdoor play spaces and athletic fields enhances the well-being of young and old Americans alike.