Girls And Older Adults Are Missing Out On Parks For Recreation

Before I had a child, I only occasionally set foot in the many parks in our neighborhood. Now I spend so much time in them that I can tell you about every swing set, picnic table and unfenced patch of grass within a two-mile radius. Also the location and cleanliness quotient of every park restroom.

A study published Wednesday finds my own relationship with parks is part of a larger trend: Urban parks in the U.S. are largely geared toward the young, with far less appeal for adults, especially older ones. And that leaves on the table a big opportunity to use parks as a way to increase physical activity.

"You'd think that seniors would be retired and would have more time" to go to the park, but "they're not using the parks very much," says Deborah Cohen, a senior natural scientist at RAND and lead author of the study, which was published in theAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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