Believe It or Not: Suburbs Not Responsible For Obesity Rates

A study conducted in Illinois has found no correlation between rates of obesity to suburban sprawl, as was previously believed.

"The finding challenges the widely held view that people who live in cities tend to be thinner because they have more opportunities to walk, while people in suburban and rural areas have to drive most everywhere they go." Instead, the study finds that obesity is associated to one's the level of education and income.

There was some relation found to those who commute by car, but that was only within specific zip code areas.

Full Story: Obesity Tied to Education, Income, but Not Suburbia: Study



Association with "percentage of people who commute by car"

Here is another link to this information:

This article states, "...increased rates of obesity were associated with being older and being male, along with the percentage of people who commute by car..."

I guess I fail to see how this study "refutes" the health of city living (in the context of not commuting by car).

Pedestrian-based walkable urbanism reduces commuting by car. That seems healthier to me.

Too Simplistic

This doesn't say anything about the relationship of walkability/bikeability and obesity. There are plenty of walkable suburbs and plenty of unwalkable cities. A study that examined specific placetypes (walkable city neighborhood/suburb/exurb, unwalkable city neighborhood/suburb/exurb) and controlled for income would provide a better analysis of the relationship between sprawl and obesity.

Believe it or not: article title contradicts article content

Thanks for sharing. A couple of things to consider:

1. Link to article broken as of 14 Feb @ 1930 CST. Article can be found here:

2. The controversial title of this post, and the title of the article it's supposed to link to are both contradicted by the study itself, which says in very plain terms that obesity is linked to the amount of time residents of a given zip code spend on average commute. Time behind the wheel is one of sprawl's hallmarks.

3. Planetizen is on's badlist. you need to renew and register updated certificate, then contact stopbadware for an updated review.

Luminopolis - Services for Enlightened Communities

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245

Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Planning on taking the AICP* Exam? Register for Planetizen's AICP * Exam Preparation Course to save $25.
Wood necklace with city map

City Necklaces

These sweet pendants are engraved on a cedar charm with a mini map of selected cities. The perfect gift for friends and family or yourself!
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.