Builders are stealing obesity headlines since the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in June let slip a report planned for print in August, "Obesity Relationships with Community Design, Physical Activity, and Time Spent in Cars," and consumer news outlets picked up the story.
Researchers documented a link between land use, weight and travel by tracking 11,000 Atlanta-area residents. They found people who live in compact, mixed-use communities generally weigh 10 pounds less than those in low-density residential cul-de-sac subdivisions. Those in mixed-use communities are 7 percent less likely to be obese, in part because they walk more to various local destinations, even including mass transit stops. In contrast, residents of conventional suburban developments lead a more sedentary living, do a lot of driving and have little time to exercise.
"Builders can profit from this information," says lead report author and researcher Lawrence D. Frank, associate professor at the University of British Columbia's School of Community and Regional Planning. "There seems to be a good deal of demand for builders to profit from if they can provide built environments that promote more physical activity."
For more information, go to www.ubc.ca/index.html and search "Lawrence D. Frank."