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WAMU’s DCentric points to a recent study that shows when poor people are given housing subsidies to move to a middle class neighborhood, they’re 5 percent less likely to be obese than if they hadn’t moved, or had been given housing subsidies, but remained in a poor neighborhood.
Even if a neighborhood has plenty of recreational facilities and opportunities, it doesn’t mean people will take advantage of them. Research shows the fear of violence discourages people from being active outside. People are less likely to walk, bike or let their kids play outside. That rings true in D.C., where Ward 8, the ward with the most violent crime thus far this year, also has the lowest physical activity rate. We may have plenty of food deserts, but we also have our fair share of exercise deserts.
As an aside, this is one reason why the “but poor people can’t be that poor if they have TVs!” argument doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. When going outside isn’t an option, indoor, sedentary activities like television-watching offer the most diversion—-something all people need—-even if they are bad for health.
Photo by apdk via Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution Generic 2.0 License