An Australian research study to be published in the international journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine makes the connection between little open space in neighborhoods and sedentary children.
Suburban Melbourne which was the area under study revealed that a lack of parks and open space affected the activity levels of the children in the neighborhood. They spent their time in passive pursuits, watching TV or playing computer games leading to the national health issue of obesity.
Although the recommendation is less than two hours of screen time a day, as Dr Jenny Veitch, a health researcher at Deakin University remarks less than ten per cent of Australian children pay heed to it.
More than 170 parents of primary school children were interviewed in 2004 and in 2006. Over the two-year period, TV watching remained the same, whereas playing computer and electronic games increased from 49 minutes to 55 minutes. The percentage of time in which a child was sedentary increased from 39 to 46.
Parents who felt the neighborhood parks were safe, with no pedestrian walkways permitting strangers to walk through, let their children play outside. Open spaces, parks with water features attracted children and satisfied parents. Even living in a cul de sac with no danger of traffic reassured parents which led to children being more active. So, the research revealed that satisfied parents in 2004 had active children in 2006.
The conclusion that the study draws is active children result from a good design of the neighborhood.