The Link Between Automobiles, Childhood Obesity and Neighborhoods

It makes sense that the way a city or town is designed can impact how active, or inactive, the citizens of that area are. However, there has been very little research done on the effect this has on childhood obesity, a growing problem in today’s society. The Seattle Children’s Research Institute just released a study that indicates that the kind of neighborhood a family lives in has an impact on whether or not their children are overweight.

The study notes that neighborhoods with paths and walkways, as well as those that are close to parks, are less likely to have obese children. Another important piece of the equation was whether or not the restaurants close to the neighborhood sold healthy food or fast food. When a neighborhood was located near nutritious food options, had a playground within walking distance and had access to sidewalks or trails, kids were more than 50 percent less likely to be overweight.

Automobiles play a crucial role in obesity as well. When children lived in an area where they had to be driven everywhere in order to get around, they were much more likely to be obese. This was particularly true when the neighborhood was also situated near restaurants that sold unhealthy food. The combination of these two factors spells disaster for children.

Experts say that this study can be helpful in showing families that obesity is related to much more than just how a person eats or how active they are throughout the day. While these two things are still crucial to weight loss and to the maintenance of a healthy BMI, environmental factors, like the neighborhood that a person lives in, play a large role as well. In particular, seeking out a home in an area where walking is encouraged can help in the battle against childhood obesity.

This information has interesting consequences for families that are searching for homes for sale or for anyone looking to buy a property in today’s real estate market. In addition to seeking out neighborhoods in good school districts, with low crime rates, future homeowners should also pay attention to how their potential neighborhood stacks up against these criteria.

Every effort should be made to find a home that has as many of these features as possible. While it may be difficult to locate the perfect property, there are homes out there that meet many of the criteria listed above.

To close on a Thomas Edison quote, “If parents pass enthusiasm along to their children, they will leave them an estate of incalculable value….”

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Chris Keenan is a green and general blog writer. Chris also maintains a personal cooking blog .

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