Evidence shows walkable towns healthier

In a recent large-scale study* of 16 pairs of neighborhoods, one that has a typical main street and a mix of apartments and houses has a proportion of people with BMI (body mass index) over 25 (considered a healthy level) at 35% of the population, but in areas of single-family homes with ‘poorly connected streets and a shopping center on its edge with a big parking lot’, BMI over 25 matched the national average of 60%.�

Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm has made health and fitness a priority for her administration by promoting walkable communities through the only statewide ‘CoolTown-oriented’ program, the Cool Cities Initiative, a program she founded and backed up with state funds. The administration states that the cost of physical inactivity in 2002 in Michigan was assessed at close to $9 billion, and if one in 20 citizens became routinely active, there would be savings of $575 million a year.

*National Institutes of Health-funded research conducted by the Active Living Research and Active Living Leadership initiatives at San Diego State University (SDSU), founded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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