Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Urban Sprawl May be Harmful to Your Health

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By Cecil Scaglione

Walking, which has been called the best exercise investment, can be helped or hampered by where you live.

While it costs nothing, can be done anywhere at any time, and requires no special equipment – except, perhaps, for a good pair of sturdy shoes – your environs could be less than walking-friendly.

If you live in a sprawling community, you’re more likely to weigh more, have higher blood pressure, and walk less than residents of more congested counties, according to an American Journal of Health Promotion report.

A research team from the National Center for Smart Growth indicated there is a strong association between your health and urban environment, which is of serious concern to older residents.

After accounting for such personal variables as age and education, they found residents of the most compact counties weighed more than five pounds less and walked almost 1 ½ hour more a month than people living in sprawling counties.

The team gathered information from more than 200,000 people living in almost 450 counties in more than 80 metropolitan regions. The areas were graded on their levels of sprawl based on factors such as the density of its residential neighborhoods, connections between roads, and the physical separation of homes, shops and workplaces.

Poor accessibility was the common denominator of urban sprawl — nothing within easy walking distance of anything else.

Those who say they have safe, convenient places to walk or to get other forms or exercise are most likely to be physically active, said a team of Georgia Department of Human Resources researchers.

Increasing the number of desirable location destinations within a 20-minute-walk radius might encourage older women — the least active population segment – to exercise, according to a University of Pittsburgh study.

Older women in the Pittsburgh region who lived within walking distance of a biking or walking trail, park, or department, discount or hardware store logged significantly more walking time than those who did not have similar facilities nearby.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

October 2, 2021 at 9:48 am

Posted in Health

Tagged with , ,

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