Cities With More Intersections Healthier – Study

Posted by Rapti Gupta on Aug 18, 2014 05:13 AM EDT
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Does your city have planned roads and a compact transport network? If not then you should shift to one that does because, according to a new study, these cities are the healthiest places to live in. (Photo : Wikimedia Commons/Heb)

Does your city have planned roads and a compact transport network? If not then you should shift to one that does because, according to a new study, these cities are the healthiest to live in.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado Denver and the University of Connecticut, claims that the larger the number of road intersections in a city, the lower is the chance of its inhabitants suffering from obesity, diabetes, heart disease or high-blood pressure.

To arrive at the conclusion, the researchers studied 24 moderate-size Californian cities with population up to 30,000 to 100,000. They correlated the health records of people living in these cities to street design in the areas and found that older cities were healthier than the newly built ones.

The study also found that wider the streets and higher the number of lanes, the larger the rate of obesity is in the city. It was also found that new cities had a larger number of fast food joints and therefore, the rate of diabetes in these areas was the highest.

The experts highlighted that people of neighborhoods that had a "Big Box" store, hardly walked anywhere. The rate of obesity and diabetes in these neighborhoods increased by 13.7 percent and 24.9 percent respectively.

"Over the course of the 20th century, we did a great job of engineering utilitarian active transportation out of our daily lives," Wesley Marshall, study co-author and assistant professor of engineering at CU Denver, was quoted by Realtor Mag.

"While they were well-intentioned design decisions, they effectively forced people to make an effort to seek out exercise and we are now seeing the health implications of these designs," he added.

The experts asserted on the need to "radically rethink how we design and build the streets and street networks that form the backbone of our cities, towns, and villages," Norman Garrick said in a press statement.

The researchers explained that this is a one of a kind study that relates city design to obesity - a growing national crisis. They added that if neighborhoods became more compact and roads became a part of people's daily exercise routine, the crisis could actually be controlled.

The study has been published in the Journal of Transport and Health.

Of late, several researches have been linking housing/real estate to health.

A recent study shed some light on how living near a foreclosed property could add to blood pressure problems. Another study also showed how spending on housing could affect a child's emotional and cognitive abilities.

In June, the American College of Sports Medicine's latest annual American Fitness IndexTM (AFI) released a list of the healthiest cities of America. Did your city make it? Check it out here.

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