Fact Sheet: Kids Yoga, Wellness, and Poverty in New York City

In New York City, as with other regions, poverty and poor health outcomes tend to go hand-in-hand. Here are just some of the disheartening statistics taken from the 2010 Census and the New York State Department of Health:

  • About 20 percent of New York City residents live below the poverty line

  • Nearly 50 percent of youths in the South Bronx and central Brooklyn live under the poverty line

  • Nearly 18 percent of New York City youths are obese

  • Poor youths are twice as likely to be obese

  • Only 21% of 8th graders can read proficiently. Slightly better: 26% are up to speed in math

  • Almost 80 percent of these teens will be arrested before their eighteenth birthdays

  • 1 in 6 of these teens is a parent

  • More than a quarter million of these teens are disconnected from both school and work

According to a growing body of research, exercise–especially yoga–has the potential to:

  • Significantly reduce stress. It has been shown to lower cortisol. Specifically, meditation could potentially decrease doctor visits by 60%

  • Improve fitness, including balance and strength

  • Help manage chronic mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety and insomnia, according to the Mayo Clinic. In some instances it’s more effective than medicine

  • Reduce heart rate and blood pressure

  • Decrease back problems, according to the NIH

  • Improve academic performance, according to the NCBI. One school that implemented regular  yoga programs saw a two-fold increase in reading proficiency. Another was able to cut suspensions almost in half, and improve attendance 98%

  • Yoga and meditation in schools can have a positive effect on increasing school attendance and decreasing suspensions according to an article from The Atlantic.
  • According to a recent Forbes article, yoga helps children stay in school breaking the school to prison cycle.

 

About Yoga:

  • In the U.S., more than 20 million people regularly participate in yoga

  • We spent $27 billion on yoga products between 2012 and 2013

  • Experts believe that yoga will be a continuing trend, not a fad