Kids Living Near Green Spaces Step Up Their Walking

Study suggests kids can walk away from obesity—with your help.

By Megan Othersen Gorman


Kids who live near parks walk more; kids who live elsewhere might walk more with mom and dad's encouragement. Here’s what you can do to nudge your child’s activity level a bit higher:

• Do a walkability check. See the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s walkability checklist to find out if your community is suitably walkable, and to get tips on how to make it more so. The next time your family relocates, factor the walkability of your new locale into your decision.

• Hoof it. If it’s safe to walk or bike rather than drive, do so. Use stairs instead of elevators and escalators. Gradually increase the distances you and your children walk.

• Limit screen time. Limit TV, movies, videos, and computer games to less than 2 hours a day. Fill the rest of your leisure time with physical activity.

• Choose fitness-oriented gifts. Select a gift with your child's skills and interests in mind: A jump rope, mini-trampoline, tennis racket, baseball bat, a youth membership at the local YMCA or YWCA…

• Free that baby. Strollers and playpens are high on convenience but low on activity potential. Try to unleash your diapered dynamo whenever and wherever he or she can safely move around.

• Set a good example. Minimize your carbon footprint as well as the number on the scale by walking whenever you can, modeling its importance to your kids.