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Do Neighborhood Parks And Playgrounds Reduce Childhood Obesity?

  • Fan, Maoyong
  • Jin, Yanhong H.

Promoting physical activity in children is an important front battling Childhood obesity. This paper investigates if and by how much neighborhood parks and playgrounds, one of the most important activity-enhancing neighborhood facilities, affect childhood obesity. We employ a covariate matching technique to analyze the 2007 National Survey of Children Health data. We find that neighborhood parks and playgrounds make children more fit. The reduction in body mass index (BMI) as well as the overweight or obesity risk is both statistically and economically significant. We also find that the park impact depends on gender, age, race, income, neighborhood safety, and other neighborhood amenities. The results suggest that a provision of neighborhood parks and playgrounds is likely to make children more fit, but relevant interventions need to take socioeconomic status of the targeted children population as well as other neighborhood amenities into consideration.

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Paper provided by Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in its series 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington with number 123421.

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Date of creation: 14 May 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea12:123421
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  1. Case, Anne & Fertig, Angela & Paxson, Christina, 2005. "The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 365-389, March.
  2. Melayne M. McInnes & Judith A. Shinogle, 2009. "Physical Activity: Economic and Policy Factors," NBER Working Papers 15039, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Robert Sandy & Gilbert Liu & John Ottensmann & Rusty Tchernis & Jeff Wilson & O. T. Ford, 2011. "Studying the Child Obesity Epidemic with Natural Experiments," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Aspects of Obesity, pages 181-221 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," Working Papers 0203, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  5. LaLonde, Robert J, 1986. "Evaluating the Econometric Evaluations of Training Programs with Experimental Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 604-20, September.
  6. Jeffrey R. Kling & Jeffrey B. Liebman & Lawrence F. Katz, 2005. "Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects," NBER Working Papers 11577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Abadie, Alberto & Imbens, Guido W., 2011. "Bias-Corrected Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 29(1), pages 1-11.
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