Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Neighborhood layout could turn drivers into walkers


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

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

Jim Feuer | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Illinois researchers researchers find tweeting in cities lower than expected
21.02.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht Polluted air may pollute our morality
08.02.2018 | Association for Psychological Science

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Thawing permafrost produces more methane than expected

20.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>