Does Urban Sprawl Make Us Fat?

Lawrence Frank, a professor of urban planning at the University of British Columbia, thinks so. Science News Online has the story:

In the first of the 2003 reports, researchers analyzed data from a nationwide survey in which each of some 200,000 people reported his or her residential address, physical activity, body mass, height, and other health variables. Residents of sprawling cities and counties tended to weigh more, walk less, and have higher blood pressure than did people living in compact communities, concluded urban planner Reid Ewing and his colleagues at the University of Maryland at College Park's National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education.

In the second study, health psychologist James Sallis of San Diego State University and his colleagues reported that residents of "high-walkability" neighborhoods, which have closely packed residences and a mix of housing and businesses, tended to walk more and were less likely to be obese than residents of low-walkability neighborhoods.

Link - via AQFL

The photo above, taken by Oscar Ruiz, are real houses in Ixtapaluca, Mexico:

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You're goddamn right it does.

When all the subdivision neighbourhood roads are twisting into weird shapes, and it's confusing and inconvenient to walk anywhere (no direct routes), people just get in their car and drive. Hell, my street doesn't even HAVE sidewalks.

Also, there's no "downtowns" in any town built-up in the last 20 years. You can't stroll down a main street. Instead, you drive to a big box plaza with Wal-Mart or something.
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This is about the third website that i have seen quoting this study and yet not one of the articles seem to have made the connection between the fact that the sprawling neighbouhoods would be populated by a different socio-economic group than the one populating the more densly populated neighbourhoods. To my mind this would mean that the study is relating to old news - the only thing that this study is showing is that the less well educated people that have lower incomes live in more densly populated areas and have a poorer diet!!

Is this actually anything that we dont know already???
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