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Do your kids have enough green space?

By December 3, 2008 - 10:51am
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How much green space do your kids have in their lives?

Time Magazine's Dec. 8 issue has an article by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who also anchors CNN's Fit Nation, on how the amount of green space available in kids' neighborhoods has a direct effect on their health and well-being.
The research, published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, found that city kids who had more green space in their neighborhoods

gained about 13% less weight over two years than kids who had less green space. The difference in environment appears to affect both body and mind, Supta writes.

"At its most straightforward, a green neighborhood simply means more places for kids to play -- which is vital since time spent outdoors is one o fhte strongest correlates of children's activity levels. But green space is good for the mind, too; research by environmental psychologists has shown that it has cognifitive benefits for children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In one study, simply reading otusie in a green setting improved kids' symptoms."

There are surely a lot of aspects to these findings. Kids run and play in a park, probably for longer distance and duration than they might in the back yard. They socialize with one another, and negotiate such things as time on the swings or whose turn comes next. They are spending time in nature, surrounded by trees and grass and squirrels, which gives them a sense of the world outside of their own homes and school. And they have access to play equipment that makes the park a special place. (Wouldn't it be great if we could feel the same way about the gym in adulthood?)

Here's a link to the full article:


Add a Comment2 Comments

I also agree with this. We live in a semi-rural area and used to have a working ranch around us. When the cattle got out, neighbors mounted up and rounded up. I really hate that the pastures have been developed into (albeit pricey) subdivisions; but, we do have lots of greenbelts, waterways and trails. Our local trail system is one of the largest in the state and I do a good deal of my training on it (just a short 2 mile jog from my front door).

I think it's wonderful that there are so many inner city movements to provide green space for city dwellers. Austin, TX is a terrific example of green building.

Kids need the outdoors, to burn off energy; feel the seasons; see the colors, flora and fauna; learn to appreciate and respect Mother Nature, as well as to socialize. There are other studies, too, showing how much better kids can learn with a few outdoor breaks during the day - and it's good for their teachers to get outside, as well!

December 3, 2008 - 5:20pm
HERWriter Guide

I very much agree with this. We're lucky to live in the country, yet close to downtown. I feel we have the best of both worlds. We have a large play structure for the kids and it didn't really occur to me before that this was exercise - I just considered it 'play'. But of course it's exercise! My kids go up and down the slide a hundred times! That's a lot of stair climbing! They also have a rock-climbing wall on the structure, as well as monkey bars and swings etc.

We also walk over to neighboring farms to say hi to the animals and use the walking trails that cannot be built upon.

City parks are vital for city kids. This is tax money going to good use! They keep kids fit, socialized (like you mentioned) and also improves the health of the parents too, as it gets them up and moving too.

December 3, 2008 - 2:18pm
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