October 16, 2009

Today in Play: Food for Thought Friday

Several interesting articles and studies have recently crossed my desk...well, not my desk exactly...my inbox? At any rate, in light of all this fascinating new stuff, I present to you Food for Thought Friday! I've got two studies about kids' health and well-being and one report on security at national parks I thought you might enjoy. Do you agree or disagree with their findings? Noodle on it and let us know in the comments.

Canadian kids stay inside due to "stranger danger"
"Fear of dangerous strangers in inner-city neighbourhoods is keeping kids and teens from using playgrounds and parks to be physically active," according to a recent study in Science Daily. Other factors include lack of "family involvement" and lack of "adult-supervised programs." How does this compare with where you live?

The 2009 Foundation for Child Development Child and Youth Well-Being Index (CWI) Report (pdf)
Kids suffered in 2008 compared to previous years, likely due to family economic concerns. This will probably cause a ripple effect in specific areas of child and youth well-being, including health and safety, in the coming years.

One particular thing they predicted was an increase in childhood obesity due to tightening food budgets, which I think is likely. I once did an urban hunger simulation and discovered that if you want to get the most caloric bang for your buck, you have to get unhealthy processed foods, which was really depressing to learn.

What do you think? Are kids worse off today than five years ago?

U.S. parks need security improvements, GAO says
"The National Park Service, the police service of the U.S. Department of Interior responsible for protecting U.S. parks, has not conducted a thorough risk management review and does not make best cost-effective use of information technology, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a report." When I first read this, I was skeptical - did Homeland Security expect park rangers to "wand" everyone who entered a forest? - but then I realized these were the folks protecting our national monuments as well as our national parks, so it made sense that they should step up their security.

What has your experience been? Is GAO being a bit harsh, or could the Park Service stand some improving? And what does that mean for other parks and recreation areas?

the buzz in play, today in play, research, studies