Kaid Benfield Archive


Inner-city kids need parks and green space, says IU research

Kaid Benfield

Posted December 15, 2008 at 2:15PM

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  Central Park, NYC (by: Christopher Titzer, creative commons license)  enjoying crawfish in New Orleans (by: JustUptown, creative commons license) 

In the first study to look at the effect of neighborhood greenness on inner city children's weight over time, researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the University of Washington report that the presence of more neighborhood parks and green space is associated with slower increases in children's body mass over a two-year period, regardless of residential density.

"'Previous work, including our own, has provided snapshots in time and shown that for children in densely populated cities, the greener the neighborhood, the lower the risk of obesity,' said Gilbert C. Liu, M.D., senior author of the new study, which appears in the December issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 'Our new study of over 3,800 inner city children revealed that living in areas with green space has a long-term positive impact on children's weight, and thus, their health.'"

For the entire press release, go here.

This makes so much intuitive sense.  I worry a little that we aren't spending enough time thinking about the green on the ground, compared to the green in the building or in our transportation patterns.  A big exception, of course, is the city parks shop at the Trust for Public Land, which is as committed to the other aspects of smart growth as it is to parks.  The rest of us need to catch up.