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      Proximity to parks plays a part in physical fitness

      A recent study shows how close you live to a city park plays a part in your physical fitness.

      The top researcher of that study wants Mizzou doctors to spread the word on the importance of having a walk in the park.

      Kansas State University researcher Andrew Kaczynski told a group of doctors from the University of Missouri School of Medicine that city parks can help fight childhood obesity.

      His research shows children living within a half-mile of a park or playground were five times more likely to be a healthy weight, rather than overweight, as compared to children who didn TMt have a park with a playground nearby. Kaczynski wants doctors to use his research to help prevent obesity.

      I wanted doctors and the medical community in general to understand that it TMs not only individual health that we need to look at, but also health at a population level," Kaczynski said.

      Children weren TMt the only focus of Kaczynski TMs research. He also found that adults were healthier if they lived near a park. Kaczynski conducted his research at several Kansas City parks and found white male adults were the most active. Some parents at Columbia TMs Cosmo Park said playgrounds and parks urge them have a healthier lifestyle.

      I think Columbia does a wonderful job with all the parks that they have in this town to accommodate any neighborhood, Columbia parent Gretchen Siebert said.

      We often use the park that TMs closest to our house," Columbia parent Jon McCullem said. "We go out and it TMs a good time to play with my daughter and get the family out with a newborn.

      We don TMt have swing set in our backyard," Columbia parent Tricia Sexauer said. "We don TMt really have room for one. We TMre going to come here as much as possible because it TMs close.

      Kaczynski TMs research also shows that parks with more features were more likely to be used for physical activity.

      Columbia Mayor Darwin Hindman said his goal is to have a city park within a half mile of every child in the city.

      Hindman is retiring next month.