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Green dream? Suburban living linked to obesity epidemic in US study
By Jak Phillips 22 Aug 2014
The researchers say health should become a bigger consideration of urban design Credit: zstock / Shutterstock.com
Despite its long-held connotations with health and wellbeing, leafy suburban living could in fact be a contributing factor in obesity, diabetes and heart disease, according to two American academics.

Assistant professors of engineering Norman Garrick (University of Connecticut) and Wesley Marshall (Colorado University) have been analysing how US street networks could be influencing health.

In a study published in the Journal of Transport and Health, Garrick and Marshall state that densely-packed cities with lots of crossroads (think the classic Manhattan grid) have lower levels of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. By contrast, they find that indicators of ill-health are higher in sparse suburban areas with lots of cul-de-sacs – reporting that those living in these spread out communities spend around 18 per cent more time driving than people who live in dense grids.

Transportation seems to be a key factor. The pair also report that wide, multi-lane streets are more likely to lead to higher levels of obesity and diabetes, with the theory posited that the less-pedestrian friendly an area, the lower the rates of physical activity. Whereas people who live in cities often have no choice but to walk and cycle as a means of beating congested streets, suburbanites seem more inclined to take the car to cover the longer distances they have to travel, taking advantage of the comparatively quieter roads.

“It might not be common for people to explicitly contemplate health when selecting a place to live,” Garrick and Marshall write, “but this research indicates it is worth considering.”

The pair say it’s now time for city planners to shake-off archaic notions of the benefits of suburban living and make health a key consideration of urban design.

“Taken together these findings suggest a need to radically rethink how we design and build the streets and street networks that form the backbone of our cities, towns, and villages,” Garrick said in a press statement. “This research is one more in a long line that demonstrates the myriad advantages of fostering walkable places.”


News
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07 Dec 2021
Wellness tech firm Timeshifter has launched a new circadian app for shift workers, allowing them to form and maintain healthier lifestyles. When a shift worker imports their schedule and enters their sleep pattern, chronotype, and ... More
06 Dec 2021
Industry figure Susan Friedland has been celebrated with the Global Wellness Summit’s (GWS) annual Leading Woman in Wellness Award. During a poignant ceremony, Mrs Friedland was recognised with the award for her support and dedication ... More
06 Dec 2021
The two-day World Halotherapy Symposium will go live tomorrow on 7 December to encourage the convergence of the halotherapy and wellness industries. The free virtual conference is hosted by industry body the World Halotherapy Association ... More
03 Dec 2021
Global hotel and spa operator Six Senses will open its first Japanese property in Kyoto in 2024. Six Senses Kyoto is being realised as an urban sanctuary in a city famed for its Buddhist temples, ... More
02 Dec 2021
Raffles Hotels and Resorts has opened a new resort in Dubai with a comprehensive 23-treatment-room spa to reflect the city’s lavish character. Offering panoramic sea views and vistas of Dubai’s iconic skyline, the 389-room resort ... More
01 Dec 2021
The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) and BBC Storyworks have struck up a partnership to create a digital film series exploring the true meaning of wellness. BBC Storyworks is the commercial creative arm of BBC Global ... More
01 Dec 2021
The global wellness economy will grow by 9.9 per cent annually and reach US$7trn by 2025, according to new research by the Global Wellness Institute (GWI). Named The Global Wellness Economy: Looking Beyond Covid, the ... More
30 Nov 2021
The recently-transformed Bamford Wellness Spa in Gloucestershire has been recognised as the UK’s Best New Spa at the sixth annual Good Spa Guide Awards ceremony. Decided by internal judging by The Good Spa Guide’s Spa ... More
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Exercise has been found to increase levels of endocannabinoids – cannabis-like substances produced by the human body – which in turn helps reduce inflammation and could potentially treat conditions such as arthritis, cancer and heart ... More
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Gharieni GmbH
Gharieni GmbH
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Jobs    News   Products   Magazine
NEWS
Green dream? Suburban living linked to obesity epidemic in US study
POSTED 22 Aug 2014 . BY Jak Phillips
The researchers say health should become a bigger consideration of urban design Credit: zstock / Shutterstock.com
Despite its long-held connotations with health and wellbeing, leafy suburban living could in fact be a contributing factor in obesity, diabetes and heart disease, according to two American academics.

Assistant professors of engineering Norman Garrick (University of Connecticut) and Wesley Marshall (Colorado University) have been analysing how US street networks could be influencing health.

In a study published in the Journal of Transport and Health, Garrick and Marshall state that densely-packed cities with lots of crossroads (think the classic Manhattan grid) have lower levels of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. By contrast, they find that indicators of ill-health are higher in sparse suburban areas with lots of cul-de-sacs – reporting that those living in these spread out communities spend around 18 per cent more time driving than people who live in dense grids.

Transportation seems to be a key factor. The pair also report that wide, multi-lane streets are more likely to lead to higher levels of obesity and diabetes, with the theory posited that the less-pedestrian friendly an area, the lower the rates of physical activity. Whereas people who live in cities often have no choice but to walk and cycle as a means of beating congested streets, suburbanites seem more inclined to take the car to cover the longer distances they have to travel, taking advantage of the comparatively quieter roads.

“It might not be common for people to explicitly contemplate health when selecting a place to live,” Garrick and Marshall write, “but this research indicates it is worth considering.”

The pair say it’s now time for city planners to shake-off archaic notions of the benefits of suburban living and make health a key consideration of urban design.

“Taken together these findings suggest a need to radically rethink how we design and build the streets and street networks that form the backbone of our cities, towns, and villages,” Garrick said in a press statement. “This research is one more in a long line that demonstrates the myriad advantages of fostering walkable places.”
MORE NEWS
Well tech firm Timeshifter launches circadian app for the shift worker market
Wellness tech firm Timeshifter has launched a new circadian app for shift workers, allowing them to form and maintain healthier lifestyles.
Susan Friedland honoured with Leading Woman in Wellness award at 2021 Global Wellness Summit
Industry figure Susan Friedland has been celebrated with the Global Wellness Summit’s (GWS) annual Leading Woman in Wellness Award.
Tammy Pahel, Kathryn Moore and Anni Hood to headline World Halotherapy Symposium
The two-day World Halotherapy Symposium will go live tomorrow on 7 December to encourage the convergence of the halotherapy and wellness industries.
Six Senses to debut in Japan with Japanese Zen-inspired spa and bathing rituals
Global hotel and spa operator Six Senses will open its first Japanese property in Kyoto in 2024.
Raffles launches opulent five-star resort and Cinq Mondes spa on Dubai coastline
Raffles Hotels and Resorts has opened a new resort in Dubai with a comprehensive 23- treatment-room spa to reflect the city’s lavish character.
GWI partners with BBC for its new film series demystifying wellness
The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) and BBC Storyworks have struck up a partnership to create a digital film series exploring the true meaning of wellness.
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