While researching I found out a lot of information about Newark that I never knew before. First is the serious lead poisoning problem in the city. When I first used that as one of my health risks I did not think that I would make it my major concern, but it quickly jumped to the top after doing some research on government websites. I learned that Newark alone makes up for 18% of the lead poisoning cases in children under the age of 6 in the entire state, and when you compare them to other large cities (such as Paterson, Trenton, Jersey City) they are more than double the next closest city. A large part of this is due to the housing. Nearly half the housing units in Essex County were built before 1950, and back then the paint used on the houses had an extremely high lead percentage level. A large portion of the housing units were also built before 1978 which was the year the Nation put a ban on all lead based paints. When these old houses are lived in there is obviously a direct hazard with the eating of paint chips, inhalation of dust, playing in contaminated soil, and drinking water out of lead pipes as well. Even when these houses are demolished the dust contaminates the air and soil, which makes it a hazard even when a newer home is built in the same plot of land. Although there have been significant improvements in the amount of lead poisoning cases in Newark it is still a health issue that needs to be looked at.
When I did some observations at a local park in Newark I looked to see how many children were putting their hands, toys, or snacks in their mouth after playing on the grass or in the dirt. I only analyzed 5 different children, but all together those children had 17 mouthing habits. If the area in which these children were playing was contaminated they would all be at a high risk level of getting lead poisoning.
I also did an observation period at local fast food restaurant to get a good idea of how many children eat fast food for dinner. Over the course of 1 hour, during dinner hours, 29 different children ate at either McDonalds or White Castle. The food they ordered was typically chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers, fries, and regular cola. The nutritional value of these items is very unhealthy. This is something that parents should take into consideration with their children. African-Americans and Hispanics are at the higher levels of obesity and are at the highest risk of contracting a cardiovascular disease than any other ethnicity. If you allow young children to eat unhealthy foods you are putting htem at risk for obesity, a disease which has been rapidly increasing throughout the US each year.
The last set of information that I have is that the school which I observed has no recess, and the students usually have P.E. class twice a week. With obesity and heart disease being such a threat to the majority of the students going to this school I find it shocking that they are not given the opportunity to exercise, or even be physically active, more than twice a week. Exercise has a positve relationship with academic performance, and by not allowing the students to be physically active the schools are hurting their physical and educational development.