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Date:7/28/2008

ived in a walkable neighborhood versus a less walkable neighborhood. A woman of average size (about 5-foot-5, 149 pounds), weighed six pounds less.

"The data show that how and where we live can greatly affect our health," says Smith.

According to the study, during 2003-2004 roughly 70 percent of men and 61 percent of women in the U.S. were overweight. The study also notes that by 2030, about half the buildings in the U.S. will have been built since 2000. How this growth occurs will have a significant impact on the environment and on the health of the people living in it, Smith says.

"We have the opportunity, using evidence-based data on community design, to create neighborhoods that encourage less car driving, benefiting residents' health and wallets and shrinking our own carbon footprint," says Smith.

Neighborhoods with higher percentages of pedestrian trafficsomething the study found is associated with less obesity among residentscan serve as models for future residential development and redevelopment. "Neighborhoods with higher fractions of residents that walk to work tell us that something beneficial about the neighborhood is promoting health," notes Smith.

"We expect these results mean that residents find walking more attractive and enjoyable where there are other walkers, a variety of destinations easily accessible by foot and pedestrian-friendly street networks. People want to walk when it's pleasant, convenient and when there is a destination."


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Contact: Taunya Dressler
t.dressler@ucomm.utah.edu
801-587-9183
University of Utah
Source:Eurekalert

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