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Places To Play, But 'Stranger Danger' Fears Keep Inner-city Kids Home: Study

Date:
September 30, 2009
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
Fear of dangerous strangers in inner-city neighborhoods is keeping kids and teens from using playgrounds and parks to be physically active.
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A new study finds that fear of dangerous strangers in inner-city neighborhoods is keeping kids and teens from using playgrounds and parks to be physically active.
Credit: iStockphoto

Fear of dangerous strangers in inner-city neighbourhoods is keeping kids and teens from using playgrounds and parks to be physically active.

Researchers in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta, led by Nick Holt, looked at perceived opportunities and barriers to physical activity in an inner-city neighbourhood in Edmonton. They interviewed 59 children and youth, eight school staff and 13 youth workers in adult-supervised physical activity programs about their experiences.

Study data revealed three themes that influenced youngsters' opportunities for physical activity, with positive and negative factors for each.

The first theme identified was "neighbourhood characteristics." On the plus side researchers found neighbourhoods "walkable," with plenty of parks and playgrounds and nearby amenities. However, "stranger danger" fears related to drug users, bullies, prostitutes, gang members and fear of abduction deterred children and youth from visiting these places.

The second theme was "family involvement." Researchers found that while children and youth were rarely allowed out alone, involvement by a family member, for example, accompanying them to a park to play, increased their engagement in physical activity.

The third theme was the "availability of adult-supervised programs." On the positive side, researchers noted the large variety of programs offered by dedicated, hard-working staff and volunteers. Negative factors included minimal resources; staff and volunteer recruitment and retention challenges, and little knowledge of program availability by inner-city children and youth; low adherence to the programs was also a negative factor.

Inner-city neighbourhoods in other metropolitan areas in Canada bear similar characteristics to the one studied and findings can be broadly used to tackle physical activity barriers for inner-city children and youth.

The study will appear in December 2009 issue of the international journal Health and Place.


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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of Alberta. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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University of Alberta. "Places To Play, But 'Stranger Danger' Fears Keep Inner-city Kids Home: Study." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090930121514.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2009, September 30). Places To Play, But 'Stranger Danger' Fears Keep Inner-city Kids Home: Study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090930121514.htm
University of Alberta. "Places To Play, But 'Stranger Danger' Fears Keep Inner-city Kids Home: Study." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090930121514.htm (accessed July 30, 2015).

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