Looking at a recent study of neighborhood-based incidences of diabetes in Toronto, Goodyear writes that a city's form can have major impacts on the health of its people.
"The thing is, even if you don't own an automobile, you live in a place that is built for them -- because by now, every place is. As the Toronto study and others in the United States have revealed, it's not just the autocentric suburban states in the so-called "Diabetes Belt" that have a problem. Residents of dense urban areas also suffer from high rates of obesity and diabetes, in part because of the lack of healthy food choices, in part because certain ethnic groups are more predisposed to diabetes, and in part because the streetscape is degraded and ignored. The problem is worst in parts of the city like New York's Southwest Bronx -- where neglected street infrastructure, pedestrian-unfriendly design, crime rates, and urban freeways make it unpleasant or unsafe to spend much time outside."