Older, more feet-friendly neighborhoods can help keep waistlines trim, U.S. researchers report.
"We were excited to find that ... 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.
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.
Of course, walkable neighborhoods may select for fitter people (the folks who want to walk will choose to live in places where they can walk). This is a wonky blow off of the data that doesn't fully explain what's going on.
If your living space supports activity, you will be more likely to be active, lose weight, and buy smaller pants.
To change our culture in a positive direction, more individuals need to choose neighborhoods with sidewalks, local stores, and bike lanes. And we can ask for the walk-ability of our boroughs and towns to improve as well.
Create demand and the supply will follow.