Does Your Neighborhood Make You Fat?

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Research suggests it can – but the right neighborhood layout can also encourage weight loss.

Co.Exist reported on some studies linking community infrastructure to personal fitness, finding your local layout can help or hinder weight loss efforts.

An Australian study recently found people who relocated to neighborhoods with nearby stores walked 5 to 6 minutes more per week on average, and that having a beach or park nearby boosted exercise by 21 minutes per week on average. That study included 1,400 people.

Another recent study done in San Francisco found active commutes – walking or biking instead of driving – could substantially cut heart disease and diabetes risks. Adding just 18 minutes per day per person could reduce the incidence of those diseases 14 percent.

A third study, done last year, scored neighborhoods in San Diego and Seattle on walkability and access to parks, fresh fruit and veggies. Young children living in high-scoring areas were almost 60 percent less likely to be obese, even after taking into consideration factors like family income.

Maybe it’s time to move – and not just from the couch to the kitchen!

Stacy Johnson

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