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Living Near Shops and Transit Makes New Yorkers Less Fat

A new Columbia University study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, yet again, links livable streets to improved public health. The study reports:

"There are relatively strong associations between built environment and Body Mass Index, even in population-dense New York City," said Andrew Rundle, Dr.P.H., lead study author and assistant professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University Medical Center.

The study appears in the March/April issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion.

Researchers looked at data from 13,102 adults from New York City's five boroughs.  The authors discovered that three characteristics of the city environment - living in areas with mixed residential and commercial uses, living near bus and subway stops and living in population-dense areas - were inversely associated with BMI levels.

For example, city dwellers living in areas evenly balanced between residences and commercial use had significantly lower BMIs compared to New Yorkers who lived in mostly residential or commercial areas.

"A mixture of commercial and residential land uses puts commercial facilities that you need for everyday living within walking distance," Rundle said. "You're not going to get off the couch to walk to the corner store if there's no corner store to walk to."

Photo: MannyRios/Flickr

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