Rates of people with obesity and diabetes could be lower by more than 10% if neighbourhoods would be designed with plenty of space for walking, a new Canadian study suggests.
Researchers studied more than 3 million people from 8,777 neighbourhoods in areas of Ontario, assessing their convenience for walking according to a 100-point scale measuring the density of population, the number of facilities within walking distance of residences and how good the connection between the streets are.
Over the study period that included 12 years the rates of obese and overweight people increased by 9.2% in three-fifths of neighbourhoods that were rated lowest on the scale, and the neighbourhoods with the highest ratings had no changes in rates of people with obesity.
The authors of the study agree that it was not a randomized trial, but they acknowledge that the healthiest neighbours with the lowest number of people with obesity are those where cars are not that necessary.
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