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Letter: Improving our environments could help protect our kids

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This is written to expand upon the excellent points made by the July 30 letter writer about funding for outdoor city pools. It’s about more than just fun, as important as that is for young people. As University of Minnesota Professor Marilyn Carroll and her colleagues wrote in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence (2009) “ …in animal studies, natural behaviors such as eating, drinking palatable substances, social access, and opportunities to exercise reduce the rewarding effects of drugs. Likewise, in humans, an environment enriched with positive reinforcers such as opportunities for learning, personal comfort, and social success serves as a deterrent to drug abuse, while negative aspects of the environment such as stress, poverty, and social isolation contribute to drug abuse.” Enriched environments, including opportunities for physical activity and healthy foods, and a sense of community can reduce the reinforcing effects of some drugs. I certainly don’t know the budgetary details involved, but I am confident that saving the city pools could provide further opportunities for physical activity and contribute to the sense of community that can promote physical, mental and emotional health in the city of Buffalo (and anywhere actually.)

Gary Giovino, PhD

East Aurora

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