ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Human Ancestors Put Best Foot Forward 1.5M Years Ago
Drinking Cuts Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
Bone Loss Stable on Restricted Calorie Diet
CANCER
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
CAREGIVING
Birthmark or Blood Vessel Problem?
When the Caregiver Becomes the Patient
ER Less Likely to Diagnose Stroke in Younger Folks
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
DIABETES
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
The Raw Food Diet
Eating Less May Slow Aging Process
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Old-Growth Forests Dying Off in U.S. West
Greener Neighborhoods Mean Slimmer Children
Rainy Areas in U.S. Show Higher Autism Rates
EYE CARE, VISION
Nearly 18 Million Will Have Macular Degeneration by 2050
Florida Vision Test Law: Fewer Traffic Deaths Among Elderly
When Corks Fly, Watch the Eyes
FITNESS
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Vitamin E Helps Treat Common Liver Disease
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
Stressed and Exhausted: An Introduction to Adrenal Fatigue
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure
Whole Grains Lower Risk of Heart Failure
Fondness for Fish Keeps Japanese Hearts Healthy
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
MEN'S HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
MENTAL HEALTH
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
SENIORS
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Add your Article

Walkable Neighborhoods Keep the Pounds Off

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, July 29 (HealthDay News) -- Older, more feet-friendly neighborhoods can help keep waistlines trim, U.S. researchers report.

"We were excited to find that two easily available census measures of diverse destinations -- living in an older neighborhood and higher proportion of residents who walk to work -- both predict lower weight," said lead researcher Barbara Brown, a professor of family and consumer studies at the University of Utah.

"Older neighborhoods often have a pattern of design features like narrow streets, tree-shaded sidewalks, and useful destinations like corner stores, that make walking interesting, pleasant and useful," Brown said.

The report was published in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

For the study, Brown's team collected data on almost 454,000 people living in Salt Lake County, Utah. Based on height and weight data from the participants' drivers' licenses, the researchers calculated the body-mass index of these individuals.

They found that neighborhood type did seem to be correlated to body weight. For example, a man of average size -- 6 feet tall weighing 200 pounds -- weighed 10 pounds less if he lived in an older, more walkable neighborhood. A woman of average size -- 5'5" tall weighing 149 pounds -- was six pounds lighter if she lived in a similar area versus a newer, less pedestrian-friendly locale.

Fewer than 3 percent of U.S. residents do report that they walk to work, Brown said. "Although we did not measure walking directly, it would make sense that residents walk more in neighborhoods designed with more walkability, thus lowering their risks of obesity," she said.

By 2030, about half the built space needed in the United States will have been built or renovated since 2000, the study authors noted. That means there's a real opportunity to think about redesigning neighborhoods to achieve healthier (and cost-saving) goals for residents, Brown said.

"Already, people are thinking about walking or biking or walking to transit more due to the cost of gas," Brown said. "Our study suggests you can achieve multiple goals of residents by designing walkable neighborhoods. Residents could enjoy less dependence on their cars, less impact on their wallets, and greater health benefits if they can walk to more destinations," she said.

Dr. David Katz, a director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, said the obesity epidemic is largely a byproduct of recent historical developments.

"Throughout most of human history, physical activity was an unavoidable part of everyone's daily routine," Katz noted. "We have engineered a modern food supply that offers virtually continuous and ubiquitous access to a tasty excess of calories and engineered communities and technologies that make muscle power all but obsolete," he said.

An association between the walkability of a neighborhood and reduced risk of obesity is just what common sense would suggest, Katz said. "Build neighborhoods where physical activity is encouraged. Lesser rates of obesity and better health are apt to follow," he said.

More information

For more on staying slim and healthy, head to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



SOURCES: Barbara Brown, Ph.D., professor, family and consumer studies, University of Utah, Salt Lake City; David Katz, M.D., M.P.H., director, Prevention Research Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn; September 2008 American Journal of Preventive Medicine

Last Updated: July 29, 2008

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