Is your ‘hood’ healthy for you?

That walk or bike trip to the grocery store and shopping mall may be doing more good to your body than you think.

A new study released from St. Michael’s Hospital has revealed that there is a 33 per cent greater chance of developing diabetes or being obese in sparsely populated neighbourhoods, where you are more likely to drive or own a vehicle.

In more densely populated neighbourhoods, such as those in Toronto’s downtown area, the risk is lower.

So which neighbourhoods are more at risk? According to the authors of the study, Dr. Gillian Booth, an endocrinologist, and Dr. Rick Glazier, research director in the Department of Family and Community Medicine of St. Michael’s Hospital, there are two factors to consider:

1) How densely populated the area you live in is

2) How much driving you do.

The study found that in more high-density areas people are twice as likely to walk, bike, or take public transportation to their destinations.

But people who live in less-dense populated areas that have larger distances between commonly visited destinations, such as grocery stores, restaurants and other shops, are more likely to drive.

The study argues that sparsely populated neighbourhoods do not encourage walking or other physically active methods of reaching a destination, but rather promote a dependency on cars to reach places, which increases risk factors that can lead to obesity and diabetes.

The authors of the study hope urban and regional planners will look through a health lens and keep community health in mind when developing neighbourhoods.

To view a full map of Toronto and its density, click HERE (Source: CBC).


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The Oakville Sun News Desk is responsible for the editorial content you see published on this site. The content is the work of Sheridan journalism students as they learn their skills and prepare for working in the field.

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