Ark La Tex In-Depth: LA gets a bad health grade
Louisiana is suffering from bad grades when it comes to health.
This winter Pennington Biomedical Research Center assigned our state a "D" letter grade for the way it's built.
They said Louisiana cities aren't creating active environments for adults and kids.
It turns out Shreveport-Bossier is no exception to this.
Your mother may have told you that you are what you eat.
Now environmental experts are telling Louisiana, you are what you build.
According to PBRC, the state gets a "D" for 'insufficient appropriate physical activity opportunities and programs available to the majority of Louisiana's children and youth'.
The state fell short of the national average in four important categories, when it comes to our kids:
Safety of children in neighborhoods.
Reporter Jessica Crandall called up Loren Demerath, grassroots activist and a sociology professor with Centenary College, for an explanation.
He took her for a tour of key areas in the city that need improvement.
"We've got to jump pretty much out of the way on some streets. There's no real room for pedestrians or bicyclists here and this is a new road," said Demerath.
It leads to busy Youree Drive, but has no sidewalk.
"The research is out there now about how important it is to have a walkable, bikable city and people like it. They'll use it. They'll be healthy and happy," said Demerath.
Plenty of areas in Shreveport are still far from being walkable and bikable.
City planner Dara Sanders took Crandall out to the University Terrace neighborhood, where it's not easy for kids to get to school.
Most of the streets there have no outlet.
"Children would still have to walk all the way back to the main street to get to school. This still isn't a very connected, complete or compact neighborhood. It still requires people to get into their car and drive to their destination," said Sanders.
For anyone who lives by a canal or bayou, they know that can also limit places to reach on foot.
"These could be transformed into linear parks or greenways, nature trails and bike paths," said Demerath.
They could be covered and used as walkways, so as to better connect and build the city.
Sanders is working on a unified development code for the city to make sure the built-environment grade improves in the future.
Tune in to KTBS Monday night to learn more about how Shreveport is stepping up to be healthier.
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