Tuesday, March 11, 2008

RAND STUDY FINDS SCHOOL PLAYGROUNDS RESOURCE IN OBESITY BATTLE

A RAND Corporation study says school playgrounds can be important tools in the fight against childhood obesity. However, many are locked and inaccessible to children on weekends – especially in poor and minority neighborhoods.

The study called the Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls (TAAG) found that, on average, 66 percent of the schools were unlocked on weekends. But only 57 percent of schools were both unlocked and had accessible facilities for weekend physical activities such as playgrounds, athletic fields, basketball courts and paved playing surfaces.

“Girls who lived near locked schools tended to be heavier, and neighborhoods with locked schools were disproportionately poor and had larger minority populations,” said Molly M. Scott, lead author of the study and research analyst with RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “These neighborhoods, where risk of obesity is high and public parks and playgrounds are often lacking, could benefit from convenient and safe places for physical activity. And making schools accessible doesn't require construction. It's a policy change.”

More on Playground Accessibility study....