Walkable neighbourhoods reduce obesity, diabetes risk

Washington : New studies suggest that people who live in neighbourhoods that are conducive to walking experienced a substantially lower rate of obesity, overweight and diabetes than those who lived in more auto-dependent neighbourhoods, reports ANI.

Researchers in Canada compared adults living in the most and least “walkable” metropolitan areas in southern Ontario and found a lower risk of developing diabetes over a 10-year period for those who lived in neighbourhoods with less sprawl, more interconnectivity among streets, and more local stores and services within walking distance, among other measures used to determine a neighbourhood’s “walkability.”

The researchers controlled for variables, such as health at baseline, in order to rule out the probability that healthier people were choosing more walkable neighbourhoods to begin with. A second study that compared neighborhoods, not individuals, found that the most walkable neighbourhoods had the lowest incidence of obesity, overweight and diabetes.

Specifically, the studies found that people living in neighbourhoods with greater walkability saw on average a 13 percent lower development of diabetes incidence over 10 years than those that were less walkable. However, walkability was only protective in those who were younger and middle aged; those who were age 65 or older saw no benefit from living in a walkable neighbourhood.

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