Link between obesity and neighbourhood walkability

Categories: Big picture
Published on: July 16, 2015

Ottawa Citizen / 15 July 2015 / Andrew Duffy

ottawa-walkingA new study shows that people who live in neighbourhoods where they can walk to grocery stores, schools and shops are less likely to be overweight or obese than those who live in places where the car is king.

Researchers at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) found that people who lived in Ontario’s most walkable neighbourhoods weighed seven pounds less, on average, than people who lived in places where they depended on cars for almost all of their errands.

Those in the most car-dependent neighbourhoods were 70 per cent more likely to be obese than people living in what researchers classified as a “walker’s paradise.”

A neighbourhood’s walkability had a direct relationship with body mass index: the more walkable the neighbourhood, the better the weight status of the people who lived there, the study said.