[The following is an exact transcript of this podcast.]
Apparently all of the gyms in the suburbs can't compensate for a good old walk. At least that's the story told by a report in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. According to the study, people lower their risk of obesity when they live in densely populated, urban neighborhoods.
University of Utah researchers looked at census data from half a million state residents and found that, along with bigger cars and houses, the suburbs have bigger people as well. On average, a male suburbanite weighed 10 pounds more than his city-dwelling counterpart. Women had a weight difference of six pounds. The trend towards slimmer waistlines was especially pronounced in urban neighborhoods that were developed before the 1950's. These neighborhoods were built before our car culture took over, and they boast plenty of parks, restaurants and shops worth walking to, and the sidewalks needed to get people there.
The researchers say their study shows how America's civic planners can help fight the obesity epidemic. By designing new neighborhoods with pedestrians in mind, they can promote slimmer lifestyles and cut down on this new kind of suburban sprawl.