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Many strategies to increase physical activity for kids lack injury prevention measures
Date:1/20/2012

A new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) documents a need for increased injury prevention efforts in many of the most popular activities for kids (walking, bicycling, swimming, sports and playground use) in the United States. Injury is the leading cause of death for young people in the U.S., yet many public health efforts to promote physical activity in kids do not consider the numerous available strategies to incorporate injury prevention. The report, published online in the journal Health and Place, outlines how injury prevention and child obesity professionals can work together to prevent injury while promoting active lifestyles in kids.

"Many of the activities currently recommended to reduce obesity in kids are also the leading causes of activity-related injury," explained lead study author Keshia Pollack, PhD, an assistant professor with the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, part of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "There are many behavioral, environmental and policy approaches proven to make exercise activities safer for kids, which we outline in our study."

For example, efforts are underway at the federal, state and local levels to increase the number of kids who walk to school; kids who walk to/from school each day are more likely to meet their daily recommended level of physical activity than kids who do not and, over time, walking or biking to school helps children develop an early habit of engaging in physical activity. The researchers note, however, that while pedestrian injury is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among U.S. children ages 5 to 14, many effective interventions exist to improve pedestrian safety, particularly changes to the built environment such as traffic-calming measures (i.e., speed humps, traffic circles) and enforcement of traffic laws.
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Contact: Tim Parsons
tmparson@jhsph.edu
410-955-7619
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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