Study: Access to Trails Reduces Youth Obesity

What Happened?

A recent study found municipalities with more non-motorized nature trails and forest lands reported higher levels of youth activity and lower childhood obesity rates. Interestingly, counties with more nature preserves had lower activity levels – underscoring the importance of investing in the right type of public green space to improve public health.


According to researchers from the University of Missouri and the University of Minnesota, adding non-motorized trails to municipalities, and creating easy access for local youth, directly increased physical activity rates and lowered obesity rates. Conversely, counties with more nature preserves showed decreased levels of youth physical activity, while parklands showed no impact one way or the other.

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