Urban Design Could Prevent Childhood Obesity: Walking Space Needed

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When urban spaces are designed, we should also consider health risks, according to a study. It seems that neighborhoods that have more walking space have a better impact on children’s weight and BMI. The study has been led by INRS professor Tracie A. Barnett and a Montreal research team. The paper was later published in the journal Preventive Medicine.

According to the research team, neighborhoods that are pedestrian-friendly will help children maintain a healthy weight. That is because neighborhood with wide sidewalks, crossing lights and signs for pedestrians will allow children spend more time outside, riding bicycles, play in the outdoors and burn off the extra energy.

The study used data they collected in two years from children in Montreal that come from families with an obesity background. The families lived at the same address for the duration of the study. The results showed that children growing up in wide spaces, tend to walk and move more, thus less prone to obesity. The data has been analyzed and then published in the medical journal.

Causes of Obesity

An obese person will have a BMI of 25 or bigger. The BMI (body mass index) can be found out by dividing the weight in kg by the square of the person’s height in meters: kg/m2. The excess weight will put the person at risk, as it can develop serious health problems like cardiovascular diseases, chronic back pain, diabetes, hypertension and even depression.

Obesity is also affected by the lack of physical activity and a good diet. To maintain a good weight or lose weight, a person shouldn’t starve. The best solution is to have a balanced diet, to effectively lose weight and remain healthy.

The Consultant Nutritionist Dr. Rupali Dutta has a great advice for a good diet to shed some weight:

Eat more whole grains than refined carbs: maize, ragi, red, brown and black rice. Eat lean meat – chicken and salmon instead of red meat. Proteins are a great way to lose weight. Eat vegetables and stay away from trans fats: fast food, fried food, cookie, pasta, burgers, or noodles. Eat less sugar and remember that a lot of foods naturally contain sugar!

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Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.


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