In addition, lower income neighborhoods are less likely to have super- markets, resulting in their being “literally starved for resources.” 34 Because most poor families lack private transportation and live in areas poorly serviced by pub- lic transportation, getting to the nearest supermarket and bringing home bags of groceries is arduous and discouraging. Analysis of the Moving to Opportunity programdemonstrates a statistically significant reduction in obesity rates among families who moved to neighborhoods with more food and health resources. 35
Percy, age 8, is a resident of Walnut Square in NewOrleans and has been a participant in Operation Pathways’ Brighten Up afterschool and summer program since 2015. When he first came to the pro- gram, his least favorite part of Brighten Up was the daily physical fitness activities. Percy was overweight and often teased at school by his classmates. So in addition to physical health concerns asso- ciated with childhood obesity, Percy also suffered from the emo- tional stress from the bullying and harassment at school. Percy’s lack of self-confidence also had a negative effect on his schoolwork. Over the last year, Percy’s willingness to participate in fitness activ- ities gradually increased. Operation Pathways offered encourage- ment fromboth staff and fellow participants through a supportive and bully-free environment, which allowed Percy to feel comfort- able engaging in activities that were new and challenging for him. Now, Percy participates in and fully enjoys his fitness program. His new attitude towards physical activity is showing through his fitness evaluations. He continues to improve in all three moni- tored fitness areas—push-ups, sit and reach, and shuttle run. Last year, he was able to do only two push-ups and now is able to do 10 consecutively. And, his flexibility has improved as he went from 1 inch to 3.5 inches in the sit and reach assessment. Even more importantly, Percy is gaining self-confidence, doing better in school, and just finished his first season of football with the New Orleans youth football league. Way to go Percy!
Physical health : Unaffordablehousing impactsphysical healthmost significantly through over-crowding and substandard physical conditions. Overcrowding (most commonly defined as exceeding a 1:1 ratio of rooms to occupants), in addi- tion to the mental effects noted above, promotes the spread of infectious disease among occupants through extended close contact in cramped quarters. 36 Lower income families also exhibit higher rates of respiratory illnesses, such as asthma, as well as exposure to allergens and mold. 37, 38 Especially concerning is the dan- ger of lead poisoning to children with families in older housing stock. The Center
18 Pay for Success & Affordable Housing | Stefano Rumi
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