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Your Neighborhood May Be Why You Are Fat

Your Neighborhood May Be Why You Are Fat

Three recent studies have shown a possible correlation between where someone lives and their overall health. The layout of a neighborhood may be preventing weight loss by limiting access to health and fitness. The obesity epidemic is often tied to caloric intake and what we eat but as many suspected that can't be the only answer.

A recent Australian study questioned 1,400 individuals and found that those who recently relocated to developments closer to stores increase their time walking by an average of 5 to 6 minutes per week. Those with access to a beach or park subsequently increased their average exercise time by roughly 20 minutes.

Another study examining neighborhoods in San Diego and Seattle assigned a scoring system based on a neighborhood's relation to parks and the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables within 0.5 miles. Children in a high scoring area aged 6 to 11 were approximately 60 percent less likely to be obese.

A third study in the San Francisco Bay area concluded a person could cut their chances of cardiovascular disease and diabetes by 14% if they increased there walking and cycling time from 4 minutes to 22 minutes.

In essence all of these studies confirm what scientists and health advocates already knew which is increased exercise leads to weight reduction and better cardiovascular performance. What they didn't know until now was that the closer individuals are to healthy activities and foods the more likely they will benefit from this increased access.

Image by: Nic Adler