Growing Up in an Inner City Slum a Great Way to Stay in Shape

Filed under: In The News

sidewalk

Credit: Daniel Garcia, AFP

Stereotypes would have you believe rural kids are tough. They do all those farm chores, right?

Maybe, but they also have to get in the car (or truck, as long as we're still dealing in stereotypes) to go anywhere. City kids have to walk everywhere -- especially if they're too poor to afford bus fare.

So, there you have it. City kids are more physically fit than rural kids.

That's the gist of a study coming out of the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre and Department of Social and Preventive Medicine. Researchers found desperately poor kids who live with single parents in inner city slums get lots of really good exercise.

Lucky so-and-sos.

Actually, lead researcher Roman Pabayo tells Medical News Today that his data does not conflict with a previous statement by Bobbie Smith of the Spinners, who concluded in 1973 that "life ain't so easy when you're a ghetto child."

Pabayo stresses he is only talking about relative advantages of walking or biking to school instead of going in a car or by bus.

"The study is important for the well-being of children because most children are not meeting physical activity guidelines needed for optimal growth and development," he tells the website.

The study followed the same groups of children as they progressed through school. One of the startling discoveries (unless you happen to be a parent) is that kids may walk or ride their bikes in elementary school, but they prefer to get a lift once they hit junior high.

The results of the study are published in the journal Pediatrics.

"Active transportation to school represents an affordable and easy way to incorporate physical activity in the daily routines of children," Pabayo tells Medical News Today. "In a separate study on children in Quebec, we have actually found significant associations between weight and whether the child cycles or walks to school."

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