Larry Frank found that the average white male living in a community lined with shops and other businesses is expected to weigh 10 pounds less than a man living in a residential-only subdivision.
University of British Columbia researcher is being toasted by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine for his paper that indicates those who live in areas of urban sprawl are more likely to be overweight.
"Every additional 30 minutes spent in a car each day translates into a 3-per-cent greater chance of being obese," he said, inform theglobeandmail.com
According to canoe.ca "We also found that people who live in neighbourhoods with a mix of shops and businesses within easy walking distance are seven per cent less likely to be obese, lowering their relative risk of obesity by 35 percent."
Frank suggests that tripling the number of shops and services near homes could have the same effect on obesity levels as magically making residents five years younger.
Frank's paper, Obesity Relationships with Community Design, Physical Activity and Time Spent in Cars, to be released by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in June, is being touted as the first to document an association between land-use, weight and travel behaviour at the neighbourhood level.
The study tracked the body mass index and travel behaviour of more than 10,500 people in the Atlanta region.
The city focus is on encouraging the development of communities with access to public transportation. If people decide to walk to the subway instead of drive and park their emission-spewing vehicles for the day and it helps them keep their weight down, that's a nice bonus, said Frank Stewart, a manager in the city planning department.
"If people want to stay slim, they put a fitness centre in the basement. These big suburban houses certainly have the room," said Stewart, reports canada.com