Do All Children Have Safe, Clean, and Attractive Places to Be Active?

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May 29, 2012
By Debbie Lou
Do All Children Have Safe, Clean, and Attractive Places to Be Active?

 

Children who live in lower-income communities and communities of color tend to be less active and have higher obesity rates than children in predominately White or affluent communities.

This might be because children from lower-income families and Black, Latino and American Indian kids are more likely to live in neighborhoods with:

  • fewer sidewalks and sidewalks that are in bad condition;
  • unattractive or hazardous surroundings that make walking and bicycling unsafe, unappealing, or inconvenient;
  • fewer parks and other recreation resources; and
  • dangerous crime and traffic.

 

Five Ways To Help All Children Have Equal Access to Places for Play

  • Expand and maintain safe parks, protect open spaces and implement walk and bike to school programs, like Safe Routes to School.
  • Ensure that neighborhoods have safe and well-maintained sidewalks so that kids can walk or bike to parks, schools and playgrounds.
  • Partner with public health, law enforcement, planners and civic groups to improve neighborhood safety, clean up litter and graffiti, and prevent vandalism so places are safer and cleaner for walking and bicycling.
  • Increase policing in high-crime areas, pedestrian walkways and parks, and implementalternative policing strategies, such as neighborhood watch groups.
  • Develop joint-use agreements that allow community members to use school-ownedrecreational facilities. In turn, communities can offer facilities (e.g. swimming pools) to schools.

 

For more information, read the research synthesis.

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