Lack of Green Areas Linked to Childhood Obesity

More access to green areas associated with more normal weight

MONDAY, Nov. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Children with more access to green areas are more likely to stay near normal weight for their age and gender, according to a study published in the December issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Janice F. Bell, Ph.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle and colleagues examined the association between body mass index (BMI) z-score (the number of standard deviation units that BMI deviates from the mean reference value for age and gender), greenness and residential density in 3,831 children (3 to 16 years old) who received well-child care in an Indiana county. Greenness was determined from satellite images.

The researchers found that children living in greener areas were significantly more likely to have a lower BMI z-score and less likely to have increases in their BMI z-scores over the two-year period (odds ratio 0.87). Residential density was not associated with BMI z-scores regardless of greenness.

"These findings support the exploration of the promotion and preservation of greenspace within neighborhoods as a means of addressing childhood obesity," Bell and colleagues conclude.

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