Do we need to consider health risks when designing urban spaces? Yes, according to a study.
Making neighbourhoods more walkable can have a positive impact on kids’ waist line and BMI (body mass index).
Those are the findings of a Montreal research team led by INRS professor Tracie A. Barnett.
According to the results of the study, urban design is a factor in the development of childhood obesity. The study suggests that infrastructure designed to encourage walking can help reduce childhood obesity.
Pedestrian-friendly amenities, such as pedestrian crossing lights, wider sidewalks, and signs to help pedestrians cross the road, are thought to have a greater impact in high-density neighbourhoods. Such features can also encourage children to ride bicycles, play outside, and engage in similar activities, all of which help them burn off energy.
The research team analyzed and compared data collected two years apart among children in Montreal with a family history of obesity and who lived at the same address for the duration of the follow-up.
The study has been published in the journal Preventive Medicine.