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Greener Neighborhoods Mean Slimmer Children

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

Greener neighborhoods with lots of trees and vegetation can help inner city kids keep extra weight at bay. The research done at Indiana University School of Medicine is published in the December 2008 issue of American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The findings showed that higher neighborhood “greenness” was associated with slower increases in body mass index (BMI) over time, regardless of race, sex or age. Researchers say the slowing of BMI could reduce the risk of childhood obesity in the long term.

Research has shown that being active reduces the risk of obesity, which is associated with many health problems including diabetes, asthma, hypertension and sleep apnea.

“Obesity is a national epidemic necessitating the involvement of health-care providers, parents, and the community,” senior study author Gilbert C. Liu said. “Our lifestyle makes us sedentary and less healthy. For children, physical activity is active play, and that usually takes place outdoors. We need to encourage them to go outside and play. I love the idea that we can landscape for health.”

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