Urban Sprawl Can Be Hazardous To Your Health

If you live in one of this country's fattest cities, there's probably a good reason for it: There may be a stronger than suspected relationship between obesity and urban sprawl.

Expanding on data from previous research that showed people living in regions with urban sprawl had higher body mass indices (BMI), economists at Oregon State University discovered the link between obesity and sprawl . The relationship between the two disparate variables may come into play when a person's physical condition prompts him or her to choose one home over another.

In fact, besides BMI, being female, younger and married increases the probability of choosing to live in a sprawling county, researchers said.

Why? Where urban sprawl is a huge problem, most people are unable to walk to their jobs or even the grocery store. By contrast, "fitter" states like Oregon, with urban design plans in place, encourage residents to ride their bikes to the office or store. And, it's a whole lot easier in some neighborhoods of Portland not to drive a car.

As I've said before, you may not be able to do anything about geography -- meaning living in a "fat city" -- but you can apply the principles that I advocate to help you achieve high level health and avoid the traps that will condemn you to a lifetime of needless misery. One of the most important first steps toward achieving optimal health is to determine your body's unique nutritional type.

Oregon State University Free Full Text Report

EurekAlert September 9, 2005

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