In April 2018, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey data showing that Fresno is number 2 in the nation for cities hit hardest by extreme poverty. Even worse, between 2010 and 2016, areas of concentrated poverty in the metro area increased by 12.8 points (or 48,000 people). With increasing poverty comes notable disparities in crime and educational attainment, with only 6.7% of adults in high poverty neighborhoods with a college education.
There are currently 41, 000 families with children living in Fresno county that live below the poverty line (meaning their household income falls below $15,000/year); this constitutes 18% of families. There are 35,000 (11.6%) households that earn between $15,000-25,000/year. There are over 30,000 families (10%) that earn between $25,000-35,000/year. As you can imagine, an exceptionally talented youth athlete may miss out on opportunities to hone their athletic skills simply by not having the financial resources to join a local soccer club.
36.5% of children living in Fresno County live below the poverty level.
Family income has been shown to affect a child's well-being in numerous ways. Compared to their peers, children living in poverty are more likely to have poorer physical health, and are also more likely to have behavioral and emotional problems.
Only 53.9% of 5th grade students are at a healthy weight in Fresno County
Maintaining a healthy weight is important for children and teens. Being overweight increases a child’s risk factors for heart diseases, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. Staying at a healthy weight helps prevent and control multiple chronic diseases and improves quality of life.
Source: healthyfresno.org and the California Department of Education
We know that proximity to exercise opportunities, such as parks and recreation facilities, has been linked to an increase in physical activity among kids and adults. Regular physical activity has a wide array of health benefits including optimizing a normal weight, muscle and bone strengthening, improved mental health and mood, and improved life expectancy. Furthermore, exercise reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, and some cancers. It is clear that kids benefit from being off the streets or unglued from video games, and out being active instead.