June 5, 2004

Drive More? Weigh More!

"Spending more time behind the wheel -- and less time on two feet -- is adding inches to waistlines and contributing to the nation's obesity epidemic, a new study concludes," AP reports.

"The survey of 10,500 Atlanta residents found that for every extra 30 minutes commuters drove each day, they had a 3 percent greater chance of being obese than their peers who drove less.

"The survey also found that people who lived within walking distance of shops -- less than a half mile -- were 7 percent less likely to be obese than their counterparts who had to drive."

At a U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services-sponsored conference, “Obesity and the Built Environment,” Secretary Tommy Thompson urged public health advocates “to convince city planners to provide safe streets for children to bicycle on and safe streets for people to walk on," according to an HHS statement. "Every road being built — you should be able to walk on it or ride a bike on it.”

Couldn't agree more, except to add: It should be built so that you'd want to walk or bike on it, not merely that it's technically possible (once again, think of the sidewalks on Speen Street between Rtes. 30 and 9, or along Rte. 9. Have the urge to stroll there lately?)

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