Kansas City’s lower-income neighborhoods have more parks than other parts of the city, but the parks are likelier to have problems like vandalism, graffiti, and excessive litter, and less likely to have playgrounds, according to a new study in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine. The authors note that other studies show people are likelier to be physically active in higher-quality parks with amenities like playgrounds, and write that improving existing parks in lower-income neighborhoods could “help in leveling the playing field to combat the obesity crisis.”
This study was selected to appear in a special issue of the journal released in connection with the 10th annual Active Living Research conference, which will be held on February 26–28, 2013. Other studies in the issue focus on disparities in access to parks, participation in after-school sports programs, and other topics related to physical activity. For example:
“These studies show that where you live has a big impact on your ability to be active,” said James Sallis, director of Active Living Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “They also reveal that neighborhoods with people at high risk for obesity could benefit from more and better parks.”
The supplement, which was supported by the Foundation, includes studies that document promising and sustainable solutions for increasing physical activity and preventing obesity. Researchers from all over North America and several other countries are attending the Active Living Research meeting in San Diego, California, to discuss new findings and ways to inform future policies that have strong potential to help reverse the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic.
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