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Impact of a Play Desert and Its Prevention

Lack of a safe playground where children can have fun is almost a non-existent thing for American children. Though this seems to be unbelievable, it is the bitter reality that can be seen in a lot of places. Such areas with no playground are termed as "play desert" by the urban planners and municipal leaders. It is because the residential areas have many children, but there is no playground for them within a walkable distance of half-mile, excluding the barriers such as roadways.

The recreational deserts are mainly found in urban areas because of the high maintenance cost of safe playgrounds. The only thing that one can find are some protected parks with quite less or even no playground equipment. All this is because of the limited availability of areas for parkland.

Now this lack of enough parks has several negative consequences on the fitness of children as well as other people. Outdoor playing in the parks is not only just for fun but also keeps the children healthy by ensuring better blood circulation. They remain physically active, and their mental alertness also gets enhanced. Besides this, many skills such as social skills, problem-solving, decision making, and motor skills are known to improve through it.

As per the Centres for Disease Control report in 2010, it was noticed that there are only one among 5 American children who reside within at proximity of half a mile from a playground or public access park that is well equipped. This is because only 8% of the land is meant for recreational purposes in most American cities. This has led to rising cases of health issues even among the children, such as obesity and overweight conditions, which eventually lead to hypertension and heart issues when they grow up without treating it.

Certain factors result in a "play desert" in our community. The first reason is the lack of sufficient space for the development of recreational parks which is further limited because of cost and availability. The next goal is the issue with accessibility to the park, i.e., when there are physical obstacles in the parks, and the mobility gets restricted. These are the ones that are not compliant with ADA. And the final reason for the occurrence of play deserts is the lack of safety of the playgrounds, which is because of their location, that families are reluctant to send their children.

The less number of playgrounds hamper the children who are interested in athletic fields. Since there is no scope for them to move out and opt for outdoor games, they get restricted to the indoor games, mainly that are linked with technology, such as video games, or mobile games. These hampers his mental development and the essential skills that are required for a child to grow up to become a confident and self-reliant adult.

Besides the children, the adults, who usually accompany their children in the park, are also affected. So, the creation of commercial playgrounds is essential, which features various fitness structures and a safe environment that families would be willing to go to. It will ensure the wellness and healthy state of the whole family because of which they will make it a routine to visit the park every day. Thus, it is the community's heart, no matter if it is for some organization, Church, or merely a school.

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