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Increased Access to Nature Trails, Forest Lands–Not Nature Preserves–Could Decrease Youth Obesity Rates, MU Study Finds

Research suggests local policymakers should evaluate outdoor resources to encourage exercise

 


ResearcherSonja Wilhelm Stanis, an associate professor of parks, recreation and tourism in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, found that cities with more nature trails have higher levels of youth activity and lower youth obesity.

Sonja Wilhelm Stanis, an associate professor of parks, recreation and tourism in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, found that cities with more nature trails have higher levels of youth activity and lower youth obesity.
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Story posted: Sept. 11, 2014

By: Nathan Hurst

This video is available for broadcast quality download and re-use. For more information, contact Nathan Hurst: hurstn@missouri.edu.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – As youth obesity levels in America remain at record high levels, health professionals and policymakers continue to search for solutions to this national health issue. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri and the University of Minnesota have found that local governments can help reduce youth obesity levels by increasing the amount and type of public lands available for recreation. Sonja Wilhelm Stanis, an associate professor of parks, recreation and tourism in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, found that counties with more non-motorized nature trails and forest lands have higher levels of youth activity and lower youth obesity, while counties with more nature preserves have lower activity levels.