Children who live in “smart growth” neighborhoods get 46 percent more physical activity

Sept. 10, 2013, News Medical

Children who live in “smart growth” neighborhoods — developments that are designed to increase walkability and have more parks and green space areas — get 46 percent more moderate or vigorous physical activity than kids who live in conventional neighborhoods, finds a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

“We were surprised by the size of the effect,” said Michael Jerrett, Ph.D., professor in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, and lead author on the study.

He and his colleagues evaluated activity patterns in children aged 8 to 14 who recently moved to a smart growth community called The Preserve near Chino, CA. The researchers compared them with children living in eight nearby conventional communities, matched for ethnicity and family income. Continue reading

A healthy neighborhood can lower the obesity level of its residents

June 7, 2013, Red Orbit

Neighborhoods that include restaurants and businesses that support healthy eating choices can make a “measurable” difference in the battle against obesity, according to a new study led by researchers at the Drexel University School of Public Health.

Dr. Amy Auchincloss, an assistant professor at the Philadelphia-based institution, and her colleagues conducted a five-year study analyzing the impact that a neighborhood could have on an individual’s health.

They found that “significantly” fewer people became obese when they lived within a mile of healthier food environments compared to those without access to such places. Previous studies have demonstrated that healthier, less-obese men and women are more likely to live in neighborhoods that had access to supermarkets and fresh foods, and to a lesser extent, in neighborhoods that are walkable. Continue reading