Creating Active Environments for Active Lifestyles

The Coalition for a Healthy and Active America writes:
The lack of green space in many American cities isn?t just an eyesore; it very well may be contributing to the prevalence of childhood obesity today, according to some studies on the impact of urban growth patterns. Communities need to create ?active environments? that will promote a healthy, active lifestyle for our kids and encourage activities such as biking.

In many large cities, parks and playgrounds where children once played are often squeezed out by office buildings and condominiums. Sprawling suburbs have made it impossible for most students to walk or ride a bike to school. And in some communities, crowded neighborhoods have led to unsafe pathways and make visiting nearby friends more difficult.

As a result of these adverse urban growth patterns, most school-age kids are getting less of the daily exercise we once took for granted. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found participation in P.E. classes for 9th through 12th graders dropped from 42 percent to 29 percent from 1991 to 1997. The decline in organized fitness activities, combined with a lack of exercise at home, makes it safe to assume many young people are not getting the sixty minutes of daily exercise recommended by the U.S. Surgeon General.
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