August 13, 2014

Walkable communities are better for your health

Latest data on how walkable communities are better for your health: "More compact and connected street networks with fewer lanes on the major roads are correlated with reduced rates of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease among residents," according to research published in the Journal of Transport & Health.

Imagine that: If you don't have to drive everywhere but instead can walk or bike, you're likely to be healthier.

"The study also found a correlation between wider streets with more lanes and increased obesity and diabetes rates," says a University of Colorado-Denver press release about the study. "The reason, the researchers said, was that wider streets may be indicative of an inferior pedestrian environment.  The presence of a 'big box' store also tends to be indicative of poor walkability in a neighborhood and was associated with a 13.7 percent rise in obesity rates and a 24.9 percent increase in diabetes rates."

The study controlled for food environment, land uses, commuting time, socioeconomic status and street design.

"Physical activity is not just concerted exercise time and deliberate recreation. It’s about ways of life," notes The Atlantic in an article about this data.