Health

Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

Fit to be downtown

Comments (3)
By Peter Hadzipetros

Hey – wanna get fit? Then ditch that suburban spread, move away from the condo bordering the golf course and – by all means – back away from the ravine.

Concrete jungle's where you want to be. Stick to city living if you want to improve your chances at maintaining a healthy weight - if you believe some of the research that's out there.

Even urban birds seem to have a better handle on getting by than their rural cousins.

Now Dutch researchers are saying that living close to green space may not be the inducement you need to get active. The research published in the online journal BMC Public Health, found that people who live near green spaces walk and cycle less often and for shorter periods of time than people in more urban environments.

The study involved almost 5,000 Dutch residents who responded to questions about their levels of physical activity and how they perceived their health. Lead researcher Jolanda Maas said the study suggests that people who live near green spaces walked less often, relying more heavily on their cars, probably because stores and other facilities were further away.

Her take: if you want to get in more walking and cycling in your leisure time, live closer to the places you want to get to.

The findings echo the results of some other studies that looked at people's activity levels in relation to where they live. Your chances of being obese tend to be higher if you live in a rural community than in an urban area, according to one study from Saint Louis University School of Public Health. It found that if you live relatively far from places like recreational facilities, stores, churches and schools, you're at greater risk of putting on too much weight. Again, because you're relying too heavily on your car.

But the relationship between human sprawl and life in the suburbs may not be as clear-cut. A two-year-old study out of the University of Toronto, the London School of Economics and Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Spain found that while people who live in sprawling suburbs tend to be heavier than those who live in areas where development is denser, it may be because people at greater risk for obesity prefer to live in suburbs.

The study followed 6,000 people for six years. During that period, 80 per cent of the individuals moved at least once. People who moved from compact urban areas to more sprawling areas did not gain weight.

Still, you'd be making a mistake if you thought that an urban address automatically improves your chances of maintaining a healthy weight. It has to be the right urban address. If healthy grocery shopping is too far away and high calorie fast food is too easily available, you may be setting yourself up for some regional expansion.

It goes to show, if you want to be fit and maintain a healthy weight, you have to take responsibility and make some healthy choices – no matter where you live.

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

This discussion is now Open. Submit your Comment.

Comments (3)

Michelle

canada

I'm married with children and i don't think it's fair to say we're less concerned with our appearance. We don't all just hang out in sweats and watch soap operas! I absolutely don't exercise and eat right just to look good (that's awfully shallow and vain), but i do exercise and eat right to set a good example for my children and enjoy my life!

Posted June 18, 2008 10:44 AM

Helena

Brampton

Many adults who live in suburban areas are raising families, while those who live in urban areas are single. This may be the reason behind the study's findings. People who are married with children are less concerned with their appearance, while single eligible individuals will exercise and eat healthy in order to look good.

Posted June 17, 2008 08:59 PM

Therese

Guelph

A few comments:

1) I thought that one of the reasons the urban populations were thinner is because of the high recent immigrant population: Immigrants are generally thinner than those who've been in Canada for a long time;

2) Green spaces and cities should not be seen as being different places: there should be green spaces within cities as well. So, having a green space with trails shouldn't only occur in the suburbs or in rural areas but also right in densely urban areas as well. Then you can use the trails to get to work.

3)I moved from a village, where the nearest grocery store, bank, doctor, etc is a 15 minute drive, to a city where I walk to work and everything is walking distance. While I was always active before I don't have to make "exercise time" while living in the city; I exercise every day without thinking. I do easily believe people in the city are thinner, for the reasons you mentioned, as in not needing to use a car as often.

While this city offers many fast food choices, it also offers lower fat ethnic restaurants as well.

Posted June 12, 2008 06:45 PM

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

Post a Comment

Disclaimer:

Note: By submitting your comments you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that due to the volume of e-mails we receive, not all comments will be published, and those that are published will not be edited. But all will be carefully read, considered and appreciated.

Privacy Policy | Submissions Policy

Back of the Pack »

About the Author

Peter HadzipetrosPeter Hadzipetros is a producer for the Consumer and Health sites of CBC News Online. Until he got off the couch and got into long distance running a few years ago, he was a net importer of calories.

More from Peter Hadzipetros »

Recent Posts

My kind of recovery
Peter Hadzipetros
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Fit to be downtown
Peter Hadzipetros
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Joints are just fine, thank you
Peter Hadzipetros
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Steady effort, not 'boot camps' key to weight loss
Peter Hadzipetros
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Running through cancer
Peter Hadzipetros
Friday, April 11, 2008
Subscribe to this blog

Recent Comments

I'm married with children and i don't think it's fair to ...
Fit to be downtown
Many adults who live in suburban areas are raising famili...
Fit to be downtown
A few comments: 1) I thought that one of the reas...
Fit to be downtown

Archives

July 2008 (1)
June 2008 (2)
May 2008 (1)
April 2008 (2)
February 2008 (1)
January 2008 (2)
December 2007 (2)
November 2007 (4)
October 2007 (3)
September 2007 (3)
August 2007 (3)
July 2007 (4)
June 2007 (5)
May 2007 (3)
April 2007 (6)
March 2007 (3)
February 2007 (6)
January 2007 (7)
December 2006 (2)
November 2006 (3)
October 2006 (3)
September 2006 (4)
August 2006 (5)
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

World »

Breaking Dakota Access Pipeline construction halted, Standing Rock tribe says
Construction of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline has been halted, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has told Standing Rock protesters.
Rebels in Aleppo must leave city or face 'inevitable death,' warns Syrian army
The Syrian army on Sunday ordered rebels in Aleppo to leave the city or face "inevitable death," as a series of airstrikes on the neighbouring Idlib province killed at least 50 people, including several children.
COMING UP LIVE California warehouse fire kills at least 30, search for victims could last days video
The death toll has risen to 30 in a fire that ripped through a late-night dance party in a converted warehouse in Oakland, Calif., and officials say they expect that number to climb as the search continues.
more »

Canada »

Heavy snowfall warning, low visibility in Calgary and parts of Southern Alberta
Winter is finally upon us, with the temperature forecast to plummet and a snowfall warning in effect for Calgary.
Britain to get 1st major exhibition of Canada's Franklin artifacts
Upward of 22 unique artifacts from HMS Erebus, the sunken Arctic ship from Sir John Franklin's 19th-century expedition, will be on display in Greenwich, England, next year even as their ownership remains in dispute in Canada.
'Lives are on the line' as changes needed for Nutrition North, argues researcher
As the Federal government begins reviewing the results of its Nutrition North community tour, Tracey Galloway says her independent five-year program review shows the program doesn't work.
more »

Politics »

Analysis What we're talking about, and not talking about, when we talk about 'elites' audio
Pity the poor elite, so dismissed and scorned these days by the righteous politician. In 2016, they're an easy target for blame and a handy tool of distraction.
Britain to get 1st major exhibition of Canada's Franklin artifacts
Upward of 22 unique artifacts from HMS Erebus, the sunken Arctic ship from Sir John Franklin's 19th-century expedition, will be on display in Greenwich, England, next year even as their ownership remains in dispute in Canada.
MMIW commission won't hear testimony from families until spring 2017
Three months after the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women officially began, advocates worry that families have been "left in the dark" about when they might be expected to testify and are feeling disengaged from the process that is supposed to give them a voice.
more »

Health »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Arts & Entertainment»

Trevor Noah defends controversial Tomi Lahren interview video
Daily Show host Trevor Noah sits down with The National's Wendy Mesley to discuss U.S. race relations, his childhood under apartheid in South Africa and his controversial interview with right-wing pundit Tomi Lahren.
Video Programmed to thrill: sci-fi hit Westworld's finale 'satisfying,' promises star Jimmi Simpson video
For Westworld fans trading wild theories about where the headline-grabbing HBO series is headed, Jimmi Simpson has been in your shoes. 'I've seen all of them and they're amazing.' The actor talks show controversy, bonding with co-star Evan Rachel Wood and what's in store for the sci-fi hit.
Photos If I Ran the Zoo sculptures reveal the Dr. Seuss you never knew
New exhibition at Toronto's Liss Gallery presents 17 of Dr. Seuss's little-known sculptures together for the first time.
more »

Technology & Science »

Blog A planet's worth of human-made things has been weighed
The collected weight of everything human beings have made — from buildings to ballpoint pens — is staggering.
Killer whales eating their way further into Manitoba
The food chain in Hudson Bay is drastically changing as killer whales take advantage of less sea ice and eat their way into Manitoba, a researcher in Arctic mammal populations says.
New Explosive advances in DNA testing raise hope, ethical questions audio
A Calgary author and university professor says advances in DNA testing available to the average person are taking off, but so are ethical questions Canadians will be forced to address.
more »

Money »

Breaking Dakota Access Pipeline construction halted, Standing Rock tribe says
Construction of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline has been halted, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has told Standing Rock protesters.
Analysis Beyond the hippie stereotype: A closer look at the opposition to Trans Mountain video
The roots of the opposition to Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion run deep.
MARKETPLACE Using Air Miles for overseas flights? It may not be a great deal
Millions of Canadians collect Air Miles reward points on everything from groceries to gas, with many saving their miles for travel. CBC’s Marketplace looked into whether using Air Miles to score flights is always a good deal.
more »

Consumer Life »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Sports »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Live Road to the Olympic Games: Alpine skiing from Lake Louise video
Some of the world's best skiers are in action at Lake Louise on Sunday on Road to the Olympic Games, our weekly show spotlighting the best high-performance athletes from Canada and around the world.
Player's Own Voice Humphries: 'I'm proud of my body'
Canadian star Kaillie Humphries will be the first to tell you her body isn’t shaped in a conventional way. But her strong and tattoo-filled frame has made her a two-time Olympic champion and bobsleigh icon.
Opinion Gender equality in sport can't be achieved by women alone
Serena Williams' call to action should be applauded, but gender equality in sport won't be achieved by women alone, writes former Canadian Olympian Deidra Dionne.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »