Do Casinos Reduce Child Obesity Among California Indian Tribes?

With the latest findings from a recent study published back in March of 2014 by the Journal of the American Medicine Association, not only do casinos in California help gamblers to make extra money every now and then and provide enjoyable entertainment, they can also help to reduce child obesity among California Indian tribes. In fact, it seems as though the reduction in obesity has proved to be relatively substantial in accordance with what can realistically be expected. Researchers for this study have found that for every slot machine added within these Indian casinos, there was a corresponding reduction in obesity risk by.19 percent.

This study covered all of 117 school districts in California that reside on tribal lands. The reason this information was able to be quantified was due to the fact that, because of the compacts signed by all Indian tribes that own and place casinos on their lands, the profit earned from the revenue that is created by these casinos must be invested into the ongoing welfare of these tribes. For instance, every slot machine added into these casinos has shown to increase annual per capita income of just over $540, which is a substantial sum when looking at all of the slot machines within the many Indian casinos throughout the state.

This exact study took place over eleven years, from 2001 to 2012, allowing researchers to take the fitness data from gym classes for well over 22,000 tribal children of the ages from 7 to 13. This data was then taken and compared to the casinos before and after they began construction. It was during this time that slot machines per Indian child went from 4 to an astonishing 8, doubling the previous number. One of the most important statistics from this study indicates that before slot machines were added, obesity came into play with around 48 percent of the children involved in the study. Following the addition of these slot machines, this number was reduced by around 4 to 5 percent in most communities.

While researchers still hypothesized that research was relatively incomplete and still needed further study in order to verify the correlation between Indian casinos in California and the reduction in obesity, they believe that the increase in income among Indian families living on these reservations has allowed for a greater increase in useful health resources that include added health clinics, recreation centers and better housing for all families. Despite the fact that there still needs to be more research in order for the study to be given more weight, it's clear that the increase in funding for these Indian casinos provides a myriad of benefits for not only the residents of California that like to gamble but also the many families living in the Indian reservations that host these casinos. Though it was not considered during the study, it is a reasonable assumption that should the state embrace legal state regulated online gambling, then it is possible that California online slots and other California online casino games will also contribute to the increase in revenue for the tribes, directly providing the funds for resources that promote a healthier lifestyle for children associated with the Indian tribes.


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