Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Park Your Car And Walk To Store, School, Work

Date:
November 4, 2006
Source:
Saint Louis University
Summary:
New Saint Louis University research that outlines the top 10 factors that encourage people to be physically active is a blueprint to design healthier communities.

A new comprehensive study by Saint Louis University researchers that flags the top 10 features of activity-friendly communities is a blueprint for improving public health, the author of the research says.

Related Articles


"We wrote the book on identifying the range of different influences that gets people engaging in physical activity not just for recreation but as part of their everyday life activities," says Laura Brennan Ramirez, Ph.D., adjunct assistant professor of community health at Saint Louis University School of Public Health.

"We outlined what needs to happen and what is most feasible. It's going to require a commitment toward health and social wellbeing."

While regular moderate physical activity can prevent many diseases and prolong life, most Americans don't move around enough to stay healthy, earlier studies have shown.

The Saint Louis University research builds on a growing body of evidence that shows a link between how our cities are designed and built and how much activity we get.

Many of the study's recommendations focused on wrestling us away from our cars, says Brennan Ramirez, who also directs Transtria, a public health research and consulting company.

"The number of hours we spend in our car everyday detracts from our physical, social and mental health," she says. "People are increasingly becoming aware of it. Our dependence on the car is overwhelming."

Brennan Ramirez and her colleagues sifted through academic literature, reports and websites to cull a list of 230 indicators of communities that encourage activity. Then they convened two panels of experts to boil that list down to the top 10 factors that influence our activity levels. Their findings were published in the December issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The research was funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among the significant factors:

  • Land use: A mix of commercial and residential development in a community increases a person's desire to be more active. Hiking and biking trails and crosswalks do work to promote walking and bike use.
  • Transportation: Sidewalks and mass transit support physical activity because they get people out of cars and encourage a more active lifestyle.
  • Aesthetics: Monuments and historic attractions also encourage people to move about. In addition people are more inclined to walk in communities that are well maintained and have pleasant things to see.
  • Institutional and organizational policies: Encouraging physical education programs at schools, flextime on the job, and having showers and gyms in the workplace promote an active lifestyle.
  • Promotions: Campaigns and media messages build awareness of the importance of seizing opportunities for activity, which increases movement.
  • Public policies: Appropriating highway funds to create bike lanes and city funds to improve parks and recreation facilities give the necessary financial muscle to build an activity-friendly infrastructure.
  • Travel patterns: People are more likely to bike or take mass transit to work when they see other people doing the same thing.

Brennan Ramirez says the findings that highlight the best way to design an activity-friendly community are particularly important for the very old and very young.

"We haven't really designed our communities well for older adults, particularly once they get to the point that they can't drive," she says. "In addition, given concerns about the soaring childhood obesity rates, not having schools located within the neighborhood is a major problem."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Saint Louis University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Saint Louis University. "Park Your Car And Walk To Store, School, Work." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 November 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061103145931.htm>.
Saint Louis University. (2006, November 4). Park Your Car And Walk To Store, School, Work. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061103145931.htm
Saint Louis University. "Park Your Car And Walk To Store, School, Work." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061103145931.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins