Recreation and Sport Studies

Studying, Experiencing and Facilitating Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport through Wellness and Physical Activity

Walkable Communities and Adolescent Weight

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As a graduating undergraduate in RSS, an article I would recommend reading is:

Slater, S.J., Nicholson, L., Chriqui, J., Barker, D.C., Chaloupka, F.J., & Johnson, L.D. (2013). Walkable Communities and Adolescent Weight. American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 44(2), 164-168.

As recreation and sport studies professionals, it is our responsibility to provide members of the community with the tools to succeed at living a healthy and active lifestyle. With this being said, you might be wondering what exactly those tools are and if they really make a difference.

The article “Walkable Communities and Adolescent Weight” looks at the built environment and the effects it has on the people who live there. Some of the aspects many of us might take for granted are considered to be powerful indicators of health in many communities, especially areas of low income. These tools are safe sidewalks, traffic lights, marked crosswalks, bike lanes, and walking trails.

The research shows that high school students who live in communities where their ability to walk (instead of drive) is limited, show higher levels of overweight and obesity. The research also shows that the communities with higher levels of walkability, have lower levels of overweight and obesity. This evidence suggests that by including even some of the above-mentioned aspects, such as a walkable sidewalk, the community may benefit.

So… what do you think? How walkable is your neighborhood?

by Molly MacDonald


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