Friday, 20 May 2011

Unhealthy neighbourhoods play big role in obesity, diabetes epidemic

May 17, Lisa Rochon The Globe and Mail 
The Globe and Mail published a 4 part series on neighbourhoods and personal health (May 16, 17, 18 & 19).  The series portrays the ways in which poorly planned and integrated neighbourhoods promote isolation, obesity and health problems such as diabetes.
Here is an excerpt from Tuesday's article,  "Isolation on the outskirts."

This is the new crisis of cities: Badly designed neighbourhoods are literally sapping people of their ability to live fully.
If, as a newly arrived immigrant, poverty has driven you to the inner or outer suburbs, where you live in a basement apartment or high above the concrete ground in a residential tower, you are far more likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes and its related consequences such as blindness and amputation...

...That’s why some medical researchers and health offices are joining forces with urban planners to design neighbourhoods that are more conducive to activity. Healthy eating combined with increases in physical exercise – walking with the kids to school or biking to the cinema – would help to mitigate the rise in the prevalence of obesity over the last two decades. They say that Canadians need to embrace the Danish model of urban wellness, or suffer a health disaster...

...Given the crisis of deadening urbanity, medical health officers such as Peel Region’s David Mowat are not only dealing with water fluoridation and smoke-free zones, but also the crucial need to design better-connected, more walkable neighbourhoods with access to healthy food at grocery stores and restaurants.
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