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Urban design to encourage walking can help reduce childhood obesity: Study

These results demonstrate the importance of fine-tuning the analysis

Press Trust of India  |  Toronto 

obesity, health, disease
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Urban infrastructure designed to encourage walking can help reduce childhood obesity, according to a study.

Researchers at The National Institute of Scientific Research (INRS) in Canada found that children who live in more walkable neighbourhoods have a smaller waist measurement and a lower (BMI).

The study suggests that pedestrian-friendly amenities, such as pedestrian crossing lights, wider sidewalks, and signs to help pedestrians cross the road, 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," said Tracie A Barnett, a professor at INRS.

The study, published in the journal Preventive Medicine, also found that BMIs were lower in neighbourhoods with a convenience store.

These results demonstrate the importance of fine-tuning the analysis, particularly by taking into account the type of food sold in fast-food outlets and convenience stores.

The research team analysed and compared data collected two years apart among children in Montreal, Canada with a family history of and who lived at the same address for the duration of the follow-up.

Other ongoing studies are documenting the transformations residential neighbourhoods have undergone in the last ten years to assess how much these transformations have affected the risk of obesity, researchers said.

First Published: Sat, March 31 2018. 23:31 IST
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