Childhood obesity can lead to type 2 diabetes, asthma, hypertension, sleep apnea and emotional distress. Obese children and youth are likely to be obese as adults, experience more cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and stroke and incur higher healthcare costs.
In an article published in the December 2008 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers report that children living in inner city neighborhoods with higher “greenness” experienced lower weight gains compared to those in areas with less green space.
Researchers from the University of Washington, Indiana University-Purdue University and Indiana University School of Medicine followed more than 3800 children, predominantly African-American and poor, aged 3-16 over a two-year period. Using satellite imaging data to measure vegetation coverage, the investigators found that higher greenness was significantly associated with lower body mass index (BMI) changes in those children. In previous studies of adults, residential density tended to predict physical activity levels, with highly urban environments leading to more walking, less driving and lower BMI. The current study did not find this correlation for children.
Children and youth in urban environments may be active in a wider variety of open spaces (e.g., yards, parks, vacant lots) and less likely to constrain activity to streets and sidewalks. Greenness might indicate proximity to parks, playfields or other open spaces that promote either physical activity or increased time spent outdoors in active play.
Writing in the article, Janice F. Bell, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor in the department of Health Services at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, and co-investigators state, “This study’s findings align with previous research linking exposure to green landscapes with health improvements. Among adults, greenness is associated with less stress and lower BMI, improved self-reported health and shorter post-operative recovery periods. Among children and youth, the positive health effects of green landscapes include improved cognitive functioning and reduced attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms. Ideally, future research in this area will be multidisciplinary – involving city planners, architects, geographers, psychologists and public health researchers – and will consider the ways children live and play in urban environments.”
In a commentary published in the same issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Nick Wareham, MBBS, PhD, of the Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge, England, writes, “Previous research on factors associated with physical activity in children has used mostly cross-sectional designs and few prospective studies have been published. In addition, studies have focused mostly on individual biological or psychological factors, with little emphasis, until recently, on collective determinants such as the physical environment. By focusing on environmental determinants in a longitudinal study in children, the study by Bell et al makes an important contribution to the existing literature.”
The results of the study, funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, is published in “Neighborhood Greenness and 2-Year Changes in Body Mass Index of Children and Youth” by Janice F. Bell, PhD, MPH, Jeffrey S. Wilson, PhD, and Gilbert C. Liu, MD, MS. The commentary is “Decrease in Activity From Childhood to Adolescence: Potential Causes and Consequences” by Nicholas J. Wareham, MBBS, PhD, Kirsten Corder, PhD, and Esther M. F. van Sluijs, PhD. Both appear in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Volume 35, Issue 6 (December 2008) published by Elsevier.
AJPM Editorial Office | alfa
Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University
The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy