Urban Planners Take On Obesity

Urban Planners Take On Obesity

(AmericanProsperity.com) – While there are a multitude of health issues facing Americans today, one of the most dangerous is obesity. This slow-growing crisis already impacts almost 40% of Americans, with experts projecting nearly 50% of US adults will be considered obese by 2030.

While it’s true that obesity is commonly treated as an issue of personal responsibility, researchers have been taking a closer look at how those who live in major cities are further impacted.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found a direct relationship between urban environments that force people to drive and their higher weight averages. Another study conducted by Obesity Reviews further uncovered the roles the layout and design of a city play in whether or not citizens are even able to make healthier lifestyle choices.

While it’s no secret Americans need to make moves to get closer to the recommended activity guidelines each week, we can’t exactly do away with the elevators, cars and public transportation systems that play very realistic roles in our society. We also need to make sure our citizens actually have access to healthy foods and safe exercise areas.

The good news is many major cities are passing ordinances designed to improve urban planning and ensure the public has access to better options. For example, the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma recently passed an ordinance that will reduce the number of new “dollar” stores while encouraging the entrance of full-service grocery stores in different parts of the city. The goal is to correct a startling imbalance that will ultimately give people living on the north side of the city access to fresh groceries and produce instead of mere convenience foods.

Cities like Detroit, Cleveland, New York and Boston are taking a different approach. Their newest ordinances make it easier for citizens to start community gardens, build urban farms and even turn vacant lots into small farming areas. A wide variety of food programs are popping up, bringing access to healthier food choices to low-income communities across the country.

Urban planners are also working to make it safer for citizens to get the physical activity they need. Their focus is on creating safer sidewalks and paths for walking as well as better-defined bike paths so cyclists can share the road.

Our health-care costs are already incredibly high, with very effort on the prevention of obesity and the diseases that come with it. The obesity problem won’t be solved overnight, but with more cities recently taking the initiative to tackle the issue,we may just find we’re finally moving in the right direction.

~Here’s to Your Prosperity!

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