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Walkable Cities To Combat Obesity

Walkable Cities To Combat Obesity

MEDIA RELEASE 9th October 2007

“Newly elected members must fight the obesity epidemic on the streets of our cities!” says Celia Wade-Brown. Ms Wade-Brown has just been re-elected as President of Living Streets Aotearoa and enters her fifth term as a city councillor.

A landmark report “Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective” has been published by World Cancer Research Fund / American Institute for Cancer Research. http://www.dietandcancerreport.org/?p=ER

It includes a large body of peer-reviewed scientific data and emphasises the link between obesity and a large range of different cancers. Food intake, specific foods and lack of activity are jointly the problem.

Most people have habitual levels of activity below levels to which humans are adapted. Other studies have shown that urban environments make a difference to people’s obesity – walkable places like Manhattan show populations with a lower BMI (body-mass index) than sprawl like Dallas.

New councillors can make walkable cities a public health priority. New District Health Board members must press their Councils to consider health effects of town planning.

Current policy and practice is not enough to tackle the obesity epidemic. We have to tackle the root cause of the obesogenic environment we have created.

"It is unacceptable to simply sit back and accept an environment that is making us, as a society, unhealthy. The key change is moving from a car dominated streets to streets that are walkable. Those who design and manage our streets must put the needs of pedestrians first. This is about taming the car, not excluding it altogether.”

"Key to a long term change is to make sure that walking becomes a habit when young, and that the decline in the number of children walking to school is reversed.”


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