Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Neighborhood layout could turn drivers into walkers

01.04.2003


People who live in neighborhoods where stores, schools and homes are within walking or cycling distance from each other make almost twice as many weekly trips on foot as residents of less “walkable” neighborhoods, according to new research.

And all that car-free traveling can add up to better health: One or two extra walking trips a week can burn off enough calories to drop nearly two pounds in a year, which is about how much weight American adults gain annually.

If a large proportion of a population could walk to work or errands, “it would have a significant public health impact,” say Brian E. Saelens, Ph.D., of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and colleagues.



Almost 83 percent of all trips are quick, close to home and not work-related, making them good candidates for walking or cycling, according to the researchers.

Saelens and colleagues analyzed several studies of neighborhood design and walking and cycling rates, and found that people who lived in walkable communities did choose to leave their cars behind more often.

Walkable neighborhoods are densely populated, with a mix of commercial and residential buildings, and have high street connectivity, or many different and relatively short ways to get from point A to point B, say the researchers.

Extra work- and errand-related trips make up most of the difference in foot travel rates between these and less walkable communities, which suggests that the physical environment, not exercise or recreation preferences, is at least partially responsible for the difference.

The findings are encouraging for health researchers and policymakers, since they reflect potential differences in physical activity across an entire population rather than just a small group of motivated volunteers as in many other studies of health behavior.

This may mean that changes in neighborhood design could bring about significant changes in a community’s overall health, the researchers conclude.

“The other fundamental difference is that changes in the environment can be expected to be relatively permanent, in stark contrast to the well-documented lack of maintenance of health behavior change programs,” Saelens and colleagues say.

Health care professionals should use information from transportation and urban planning studies to learn more about how the physical environment affects health behaviors, say the researchers.

“A growing number of policy experts, urban planners and transportation experts are concerned that we have built our communities so it is difficult, and in many cases dangerous, to walk or bike and have thus ‘engineered’ physical activity out of our daily lives,” Saelens and colleagues say.



The study is published in the March-April issue of the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

By Becky Ham, Staff Writer
Health Behavior News Service


FOR MORE INFORMATION
Health Behavior News Service: (202) 387-2829 or www.hbns.org.
Interviews: Contact Jim Feuer, Media Relations Manager, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center at (513) 636-4656 or Jim.Feuer@cchmc.org.
Annals of Behavioral Medicine: Contact Robert Kaplan, Ph.D., (619) 534-6058.

Jim Feuer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cfah.org/
http://www.hbns.org

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

CCNY physicists master unexplored electron property

26.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Molecular microscopy illuminates molecular motor motion

26.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Large-Mouthed Fish Was Top Predator After Mass Extinction

26.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>