Obesity Tied to Suburban Life

London-based study ties obesity to sprawl and finds that suburbs have a bigger obesity problem than rural areas.

1 minute read

October 15, 2017, 1:00 PM PDT

By Casey Brazeal @northandclark


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A massive study with data from more than 400,000 Britons recently published in The Lancet found a close tie between obesity and suburbs. "Residents’ health is highly likely to improve when sprawling suburbs are made more dense," Feargus O'Sullivan reports in CityLab.

"The worst obesity rates, the study finds, are among British people who live in areas with 1,800 homes per square kilometer (around 4,662 dwellings per square mile). That’s close to the typical density for London’s more sprawling, low-density outer boroughs, whose average density of 1,590 dwellings per square kilometer is brought down by the large areas of parkland and small areas of farmland still within the city limits," O'Sullivan reports.

Rural residents maintained healthier BMIs than their suburban countrymen, the authors of the study suggest. This may be due to more active lifestyles. Still, even rural Britons were more likely to be obese than city dwellers and among city dwellers the healthiest BMIs were in the most densely populated areas. 

Friday, October 13, 2017 in CityLab

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