Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Children living near green spaces are more active

13.03.2009
Children at high risk of obesity who live near parks and recreation areas are apt to participate in walking activities more often, researchers reported at the American Heart Association's Conference on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism.

In a Canadian study, the presence of nearby parks was strongly associated with girls walking to school and boys engaging in leisure walking. For every additional park located within a half mile of their home, the likelihood of walking to school more than doubled among girls and leisure walking by boys increased by 60 percent. Results were similar even after taking into account family income and the average level of education in the neighborhood, an indicator of area disadvantage.

"There was a strong association between walking and the number of nearby public open recreational spaces, including neighborhood parks, playgrounds and sports fields," said Tracie A. Barnett, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a researcher at Sainte-Justine Hospital Research Center and Université de Montréal in Montreal, Canada. "We were able to relate the proximity and number of parks to how often children aged 8-10 years walked. This is important because active transportation is a promising public health strategy for increasing overall physical activity, and for helping to curb the obesity epidemic. We know that walking to school has been decreasing steadily for the past 30 years; concurrent increases in overweight and obesity suggest that these two phenomena may be linked."

The results are based on the first 300 families enrolled into the Quebec Adipose and Lifestyle Investigation in Youth (QUALITY) study in which researchers are following over 600 children and both biological parents to study the natural history of excess weight and cardiometabolic risk in children.

"Obesity in children and adolescents has tripled in the past 20 or so years," Barnett said. "Although obesity has many causes, this relatively sudden and steep increase suggests that the drivers of the obesity epidemic are largely environmental rather than biological or genetic in nature."

In this study, researchers examined the relationship between park availability and proximity, and walking. All the children were considered at high risk for future obesity because at least one of their parents was obese. Clinic visits determined body fat distribution, fitness, metabolic, genetic/familial, and behavioral factors that could lead to obesity. Both parents and children completed questionnaires during the clinic visit, and children provided a seven-day recall of walking for leisure and their usual methods of getting to and from school. Location of parks was obtained using a geographic information system.

In this sample, researchers found:

One-third of the children walked to and from school.

Parks located within approximately one half mile had the strongest association with walking in this age group.

A greater number of parks were associated more with purpose-driven walking in girls and with leisure walking in boys.

"Parks may benefit girls and boys differently, but are associated with increased overall walking for both," said Barnett, who is also assistant professor of Social and Preventive Medicine at the Université de Montréal.

"In the past few decades we have become more sedentary due to the increased use of labor-saving devices, motorized transportation, television and computers," she said. "In addition, children are spending more time inside, yet we know that spending time outdoors is an important determinant of activity.

In future urban improvements, consideration must be given to parks, outdoor recreational areas and walking or cycling infrastructure in order to increase active living. Equally important is that the parks and recreational areas are well maintained and are safe."

The cross-sectional study provided a "snapshot" look at the environment, but researchers will be following these families over the next 10 years. The researchers plan to follow the children until age 18 to determine the effects of their environments on the development of obesity.

While this study does not provide specific information on the mechanism by which the presence of parks might affect activity in other places, it does provide useful data on how differences in urban environments may translate into differences in lifestyle activities, researchers said.

As the children become teenagers, the environment will evolve, especially as they attain more freedom and become more independent, Barnett said. "Factors that influence their health and lifestyle behaviors will change and these will need to be reassessed."

An American Heart Association statement released in June of 2008 says, "walkable" neighborhoods, with adequate sidewalks and areas for physical activity, can play an important role in combating the rise in obesity rates by making it easier to get daily exercise.

Karen Astle | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.heart.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>