6 Sep 2010

Obesogenic environments!!

Oh dear what a term - 'obesogenic environments'!!!! Living Streets have just sent me an email about 'obesogenic environments' - meaning the built urban environments that 'cause' weight gain.

Photos: walk yesterday in Randwick Woods!!

The term has been around for a couple of years or more and is apparently gathering credibility and they are seeking our views as to whether the area around our workplace encourages walking or makes it virtually impossible. Does this have an impact on how much exercise people take?

See here my blog entry on how income inequality is linked to levels of obesity - and see Living Streets forum here. I added a point to the discussion re inequality - but do accept that our built environment does have an important role to play.

A new book looking at this topic pulls together stuff from all sorts of places - there is also a network established in the North East to look at this issue. There is much they say, like for example the need for more street trees and green spaces to encourage walking. They note litter and graffiti discourage walking - I wonder if they also add that 20 mph limits have been shown to encourage walking and cycling! The book is sadly very expensive at the moment - £39.99 but I hope that the ideas will become more accessible to all of us as this perspective on our environment is to be very welcomed.

Our urban landscape is full of shopping malls and fast food restaurants, escalators and huge car parks with people battling to get the space closest to the doors so they don’t have to walk very far. These environments are simply not designed for people to walk around in. We need to think seriously about what kind of environment we are creating for ourselves and have a sensible debate about what’s acceptable and what’s not in our towns and cities. Health needs to be back on the town planning agenda before it’s too late.” Tim Townsend, Director of planning and urban design at Newcastle University and one of the book's authors


Garrat Elector said...

Don't forget, physical AND mental health. If anything mental health is more important and greenery and plenty of exercise are vital to it, as has been often shown - just google greenery and health.

Philip Booth said...

You are so right to point that out. I have blogged previously on that very topic and in haste missed the links - see for example: