Study links tribal gaming to healthier communities in California

California tribes are investing gaming revenues in their communities and that's helping to improve the lives of Native youth, a researcher said.

Jessica C. Jones-Smith of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health was the lead author of a study that linked the opening or expansion of tribal casinos to a reduction in obesity among Native children. Tribes are spending gaming revenues on recreation centers, parks and playing fields so she said that contributes to healthier communities.

"We weren't trying to weigh in on whether casinos should be held up as an example of economic development," Jones-Smith told Reuters Health. "Instead, we were trying to isolate the impact of economic resources on kids' health."

The study showed how the addition of slot machines to a community improved income levels. Jones-Smith said families are more likely able to buy healthier food with the extra money.

Get the Story:
For American Indian tribes, youth obesity rates fall when casinos built (Reuters 3/6)
Child Obesity Rates Lower in Communities with Casinos (Live Science 3/4)

Get the Study:
Association Between Casino Opening or Expansion and Risk of Childhood Overweight and Obesity (JAMA March 5, 2014)

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Study ties tribal casinos to reduced obesity in California children (3/5)

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