In recent years, there has been a lot of interest in how our neighborhood environment affects the way we eat, the way we move, the way we interact with each other, and in turn, how all these factors impact our overall quality of life and health. Today, over two-thirds of Americans are considered overweight or obese, and research shows that obesity is one of the most significant predictors of heart disease, diabetes and several forms of cancer. The environment provides access — or barriers as is often the case— to nutritious foods and physical activity. However, exactly how the environment can be modified to improve the healthfulness of our lifestyle is not entirely clear and thus requires more research. This is why we are doing the PARCS Study. We need New Yorkers who live in designated study neighborhoods to participate in this 4-year project so that we can understand how we can better invest in neighborhood features, such as parks, to improve the health outcomes of residents. Public health scientists, urban planners, and city officials are all thinking about how the urban landscape can be reshaped to help people eat better or walk, play and exercise more outside, but we can’t do this without data. By joining the PARCS Study, you are becoming an agent of change in your community. The data you provide will help us learn about what works and what doesn’t. In turn, this will help all of us build a healthier New York — together.
– Dr Terry Huang