School Neighbourhoods and Obesity Prevention in Youth
Schools are important environments for children and adolescents. In many parts of the world, children spend on the average >6h per day in school or approximately 195 days per year. Not only do they spend a great deal of time in school, but unlike adults who may travel further distances between the home and the workplace, young people are more likely to be bound to the neighbourhood areas surrounding their schools. Thus, schools and their underlying neighbourhoods serve as living environments for youth.
Due to the substantial amount of time children spend in school, it has become natural for health specialists to use schools as arenas for the promotion of healthy lifestyle practices. While there are many scientific and professional investigations that have focused on health promotion programmes within schools, this chapter will focus on the physical and structural resources in neighbourhoods surrounding schools and how they may impact the health and health behaviours of the children and adolescents who attend them.
Due to the urgency in global health agendas to create community-based and coordinated policies to address obesity in children, this chapter highlights several primary research study areas aimed at examining built environments surrounding schools and associations with dietary behaviour, active transport, physical activity and obesity. In closing, this chapter will also address the potential contributions of school environments within obesity prevention policy.
KeywordsPhysical Activity Food Outlet Recreational Facility Sport Facility School Neighbourhood
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