Does your neighborhood have a lot of fast food outlets, few sidewalks, and no parks? If yes, your physical neighborhood may be hampering your ability to be physically active and placing you at increased risk for obesity.
According to a research study conducted in Portland, neighborhoods with lower mixed-land use and higher densities of fast-food outlets were more likely to have residents who were overweight/obese.
In contrast, residents living in neighborhoods with higher mixed-land use, high street connectivity, better access to public transportation, and more green and open spaces were more likely to engage in some form of neighborhood-based walking.
“Findings from this study suggest the significant role that built environment plays in either positively or negatively impacting our health and/or lifestyle,” notes study lead Fuzhong Li, Ph.D. “34% of U.S. adults aged 20 and over are obese.
Part of the rise in this disease may be attributed to our surroundings — for example, increased accessibility to unhealthy foods.
The built environment is also creating barriers for our ability to exercise: many neighborhood areas lack parks and other recreational facilities and suburbs are often designed to discourage neighborhood walking.
Simply focusing on encouraging people to change their lifestyles – to eat better and to get more exercise — is insufficient.
Measures are also needed to improve features of the built environment, which are often modifiable (e.g., via changes in city zoning, development policies), to support people in making such changes.” says Li.
Read more at News Medical