An ongoing line of research suggests living in highly segregated neighborhoods may pose unique health risks. But a new study finds kids can escape this destructive dynamic by getting out of their segregated surroundings.
A research team led by Emily D’Agostino of the Miami-Dade County Department of Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces studied the cardiovascular health of 2,250 black and Hispanic youth participating in the department's Fit2Play program, a set of after-school activities at 34 parks.
D'Agostino's team measured blood pressure and BMI at the beginning and end of the program. The researchers report that kids showed "significantly greater improvements in cardiovascular health" if the park where they participated was in a less-segregated area than their home neighborhood. They speculate the program gave the children greater access to healthy food, or introduced them to parts of the city where they felt safer, allowing for more outdoor play. The results suggest it's less likely you'll expand your waistline if you're expanding your horizons.
A version of this story originally appeared in the September/October 2018 issue of Pacific Standard. Subscribe now to support independent journalism in the public interest. It was first published online on August 24th, 2018, exclusively for PS Premium members.