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 Sibling differences: Later-borns choose less prestigious programs at university
14.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung

nachricht Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ
09.11.2017 | Vanderbilt University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Method uses DNA, nanoparticles and lithography to make optically active structures

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

More genes are active in high-performance maize

19.01.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>