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 »

New Severe weather in southeastern U.S. kills 15 people over the weekend
A powerful tornado ripped through a mobile home park in south Georgia early Sunday, destroying half of its structures and killing seven people. Another four people died in neighbouring counties, bringing the weekend death toll from severe weather in the southeastern U.S. to 15.
'He wants Americans to love him': Trump biographers on what kind of president he'll be
Donald Trump's need for approval as well as his insecurities over his intellect and wealth offer insight into how he'll act as U.S. president, say two of his biographers.
Emboldened by Trump's presidency, Israel approves more construction in the settlements
The municipality of Jerusalem granted final approval Sunday for the construction of hundreds of new homes in east Jerusalem, while a hard-line cabinet minister pushed the government to annex a major West Bank settlement as emboldened Israeli nationalists welcomed the presidency of Donald Trump.
more »

Canada »

La Loche healing a year after shooting, but much work remains
A private ceremony takes place today in La Loche to mark the one year anniversary of the mass shootings which left seven wounded and four dead.
Analysis Liberal cabinet retreat in Calgary well-timed as electoral tests loom
The Liberals are holding their caucus retreat in Calgary this week, a city in which the party made a breakthrough in the 2015 election. With two byelections on the horizon, will the Liberals be able to build on those Calgary gains, or will the last election prove to be their high watermark?
Homeowners ill-informed about flood compensation, poll suggests
An internal poll commissioned for Public Safety Canada finds many Canadians believe Ottawa will compensate them for damage sustained during major flood disasters. But an expert says that is increasingly unlikely due to recent coverage changes in the insurance industry.
more »

Politics »

Homeowners ill-informed about flood compensation, poll suggests
An internal poll commissioned for Public Safety Canada finds many Canadians believe Ottawa will compensate them for damage sustained during major flood disasters. But an expert says that is increasingly unlikely due to recent coverage changes in the insurance industry.
Analysis Liberal cabinet retreat in Calgary well-timed as electoral tests loom
The Liberals are holding their caucus retreat in Calgary this week, a city in which the party made a breakthrough in the 2015 election. With two byelections on the horizon, will the Liberals be able to build on those Calgary gains, or will the last election prove to be their high watermark?
Airport screening rules revamped for transgender travellers
The federal agency in charge of security at Canadian airports has changed its policy on screening for transgender travellers. But advocates worry staff haven't been properly trained to execute it.
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»

Celebrities out in full force for Women's Marches
If you wondered where many of Hollywood's A-list celebrities had gone during U.S. President Donald Trump's inauguration, you didn't have to wonder any longer on Saturday, when scores of them showed up at huge women's marches in Washington and other cities to send the new president a pointed message that he was in for a fight.
Cyberattack on Sundance film fest briefly shuts down box office
Representatives for the Sundance Film Festival say that their network systems were subject to a cyberattack that caused its box offices to shut down briefly Saturday afternoon.
With Oscars in sight, Amazon, Netflix look to Sundance to secure streaming rights
After revolutionizing television with bold, award-winning original content, streaming networks are on the cusp of their first potential Oscar wins, and are back at the Sundance film festival looking for more awards-worthy fare.
more »

Technology & Science »

Non-browning apple coming to U.S. next month but Canada will have to wait video audio
The genetically modified non-browning apple a B.C. man has been developing for more than two decades will finally end up on some U.S. produce shelves next month. But Canada will have to wait to take its bite.
How coffee grounds turned firewood could be a lifeline for refugees video
The remnants of your morning cup of coffee could be a lifeline for refugees living in camps in sub-Saharan Africa.
New species of prehistoric palm discovered in Canada
A researcher has identified a new species of small palm that once grew in Canada — millions of years ago.
more »

Money »

How to fight back against rising bank fees on chequing accounts
Canada’s big banks continue to hike personal bank fees. Many banks are also making it more difficult to avoid one of the largest and most irritating fees — that pesky chequing account charge.
Tax scams and testing 'the Trump effect': CBC Marketplace's consumer cheat sheet
If you've been too busy this week to keep up with health and consumer news, CBC's Marketplace is here to help.
Non-browning apple coming to U.S. next month but Canada will have to wait video audio
The genetically modified non-browning apple a B.C. man has been developing for more than two decades will finally end up on some U.S. produce shelves next month. But Canada will have to wait to take its bite.
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]
Breaking Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, former MLBer Andy Marte killed in separate car crashes
Authorities in the Dominican Republic say Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura and former MLB player Andy Marte have both died in separate car crashes.
Patrick Chan leads Canada to world figure skating championships in Helsinki video
Toronto's Patrick Chan will again lead Canada to the world figure skating championships. Chan and Kevin Reynolds of Coquitlam, B.C., were named as the men's singles competitors by Skate Canada on Sunday.
Dufour-Lapointe, Kingsbury repeat as Val Saint-Côme champs video
Justine Dufour-Lapointe and Mikael Kingsbury both repeated as Val Saint-Côme champions on Saturday at the World Cup moguls event in their home province of Quebec.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »