Measuring the Health Effects of Sprawl

A National Analysis of Physical Activity, Obesity, and Chronic Disease

Smart Growth America, Surface Transportation Policy Project

This report presents the first national study to show a clear association between the type of place people live and their activity levels, weight, and health. The study, Relationship Between Urban Sprawl and Physical Activity, Obesity, and Morbidity, found that people living in counties marked by sprawling development are likely to walk less and weigh more than people who live in less sprawling counties. In addition, people in more sprawling counties are more likely to suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure). These results hold true after controlling for factors such as age, education, gender, and race and ethnicity.

Filed in: Health, Plans and Policies, Why Walk or Bike

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