Authors: Bongkyun Kim, Associate Research Fellow, Michael R. Thomsen, Professor, Rodolfo M. Nayga, Jr., Distinguished Professor and Tyson Endowed Chair, Di Fang, Assistant Professor, and Anthony Goudie, Director of Research and Evaluation.
Publisher: National Library of Medicine (PubMed)
We investigate the effect of residential proximity to recreational trails on childhood body mass index (BMI). We find that children living within 0.5 miles of recreational trails have BMI z‐scores that are 0.0412 to 0.0507 standard deviations lower than those who do not live within 0.5 miles of trails. We also find that living nearby trails reduces the probability of becoming obese by 1.6 percentage points. The impact for BMI z‐score is larger for children qualifying for free or reduced‐price meals and for Hispanic children. These findings suggest that improving neighborhood amenities conducive to physical activity may help reduce disparities in childhood obesity. (JEL I10, R10)