So, I am less surprised than some folks may be at the conclusion of this month's study in Pediatrics by Hillary Burdette and Robert C. Whitaker: "A National Study of Neighborhood Safety, Outdoor Play, Television Viewing, and Obesity in Preschool Children." From the press release from their employer, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.:
Do preschool children have a higher prevalence of obesity, spend less time playing outdoors, and spend more time watching television when they live in a neighborhood that their mothers perceive as unsafe? This study of three-year-olds in 20 U.S. cities found that if mothers perceive their neighborhood as unsafe, their children tend to watch more television, but they are no more likely to be obese and do not spend any less time playing outdoors than children in safer neighborhoods. Researchers used data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a birth cohort study of nearly 5,000 children born in 20 large U.S. cities from 1998 to 2000.