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News Center Items by Annie Hayes

Gov. Brown Task Force Proposes 30 Ways to Improve Oregon’s Outdoor Recreation

A new draft report from the Oregon Governor’s Task Force on the Outdoors recommends efforts to reach out to minority groups about outdoor recreation and make state parks more accessible to people with disabilities. To encourage more diversity, the report proposes minority communities should have a hand in land management planning as well as hiring more diverse people in state agencies. Other recommendations included creating a unified Oregon Outdoors Pass that would replace multiple existing passes.

Utah’s Office of Outdoor Recreation Program Grows to Expand Access to the Outdoors

Over the last five years, Utah’s Outdoor Recreation Grant program has invested approximately $10 million into 155 projects across the state, dedicating even more resources toward the program. Created to help communities around the state fund outdoor recreation infrastructure to help drive tourism, the program has funded the construction of new hiking and mountain biking trails, campsites, boat ramps, multi-use paved paths and much more. 

API Says the Decline in UK Playgrounds Is a Public Health Issue

A massive decline in mainly urban playgrounds across the UK led the Association of Play Industries (API) to warn the country’s political leaders that they must take measures to reverse this trend, which contributes to the ‘inactivity crisis’ among children. API representatives say the massive decline in public playgrounds is a public health issue and that, unless these playgrounds are reinstated and a commitment made to protect community playgrounds, children will continue to stay indoors on their screens at great cost to their physical and mental health.

Report: Air Pollution Could Kill 160,000 in Next Decade

More than 160,000 people could die over the next decade from strokes and heart attacks caused by air pollution warns the British Heart Foundation (BHF). While there are an estimated 11,000 deaths per year at the moment, BHF cautions that this number will rise as the population continues to age and wants the UK to meet World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on air pollution by 2030. Four in 10 children attend school in a high-pollution community.

Racist Housing Policies in US Linked to Deadly Heatwave Exposure

A study published in the journal Climate examines the link between historical housing policies to exposure to current deadly heatwaves. The study finds that deadly urban heatwaves disproportionately affect underserved neighborhoods because of the legacy of racist housing policies that have denied African Americans homeownership and basic public services. Each year, more than 600 Americans die and 65,000 seek emergency medical care for excessive heat exposure. As heatwaves become increasingly frequent and severe, scientists expect an increase in deaths and illnesses, particularly among vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly, economically disadvantaged communities, and those with pre-existing conditions like heart disease, asthma and diabetes.

The Socioeconomic Impact of Road Accidents With Child Victims

A new report on the impact of road traffic accidents involving children reports that such accidents are a grave public health issue facing developing countries. The report from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) highlights the impact that traffic incidents with victims aged 0 to 17 have on a country’s economy and wider society. Traffic accidents are the leading cause of deaths of children over 10 years old throughout the world and a major public health problem in developing countries. In the poorest countries, children with serious injuries and disabilities caused by traffic accidents often push their families into poverty as they are forced to spend their savings, sell their property or quit their jobs in order to look after them.

No Child Left Inside: Small Grants for Getting Kids Outdoors in High Demand

For its first round of No Child Left Inside grants, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources received an overwhelming response to its call for grant proposals. Program administrators received 200 applications in just six minutes from schools, nonprofits and community organizations. The majority of projects were focused on developing outdoor classes at schools. Lawmakers allocated $1.2 million to the program last year, for outdoor recreation and education projects, and to fund school-based outdoor sports like trapshooting and fishing teams. 

The Rise of Short-sightedness in Kids

As the number of people with myopia, or near-sightedness, has increased dramatically in recent years in various regions of the world, the risk of blindness with worsening severity of myopia has made the condition a major public health concern. While many studies have looked at possible risk factors, only a few factors have come out consistently around the world, one of which is lack of time spent outdoors in daylight.

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