Low-income, minority neighborhoods in U.S. cities are unfortunately more likely to be forgotten places. There, less money is spent on road repair, civic infrastructure or cultural projects than in other parts of town. And this pattern seems to have extended to public parks, with the result that the children who need exercise the most may be less able to get it.
A new study, published in the journal "Annals of Behavioral Medicine", looked at 165 parks in the four-county Kansas City metropolitan region. Low-income neighborhoods actually had more parks per capita; this is possibly a result of minority communities in the area being largely located in the older urban core where more parks were once planned into the city's layout. Parks in predominantly minority communities were also more likely to have basketball courts.
But the researchers also found that these same parks were less likely to have aesthetic features like decorative landscaping, trails and playgrounds.
The authors explain:
“These findings are problematic because playgrounds have been shown to promote increased physical activity intensity and healthier weight status among children. Areas of low socioeconomic status are perhaps the neighborhoods that need playgrounds the most due to the increased likelihood of those areas having a higher prevalence of youth who are overweight or obese,” they concluded.
Fortunately, our GoGirlGo! program offers an easy solution to these problematic findings. We get girls moving not through direct service, but by supporting programs and organizations that work with these girls, particullary in urban settings. GoGirlGo! identifies and weaves together quality resources within each community and provides comprehensive support to organizations through a hands-on curriculum, grant program and networking opportunities. Learn more about GoGirlGo! here.
Learn more about the study here.