Neighborhood schools a healthy choice

Commentary

The OBSERVER’s view, “Tradition allows for struggles” (May 16) asserts: “In this day and age, we don’t need neighborhood schools.”

The argument presented suggests that Dunkirk’s four elementary schools should be reduced to one, following practice in Chautauqua County central school districts over the last 55 years, beginning with Fredonia Central School. Left unstated is why. Given the tenor of The OBSERVER’s View in recent years, presumably centralized facilities are perceived as a lesser burden on property taxpayers than the alternative.

The Non-Communicable Disease Risk Factor Collaboration (Rising rural body-mass index [BMI] is the main driver of the global obesity epidemic in adults. Nature, May 9, 2019, 569: 260-264) reports, in part:

“The lower urban BMI in high-income and industrialized countries reflects a growing rural economic and social disadvantage, including lower education and income, lower availability and higher price of healthy and fresh foods, less access to, and use of, public transport and walking than in cities, and limited availability of facilities for sports and recreational activity, which account for a significant share of overall physical activity in high-income and industrialized countries.”

The relevant point here is that neighborhood schools encourage walking by students that, in turn, forces lower obesity upon those students.

We have a difference of opinion here between what is more important: taxpayer savings or average student obesity.

Michael Barris, Ph.D., is a Fredonia resident.

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