The Influence Of Urban Design and Planning On Physical Activity

Authored by: Billie Giles-Corti , Sarah Foster , Mohammad Javad Koohsari , Jacinta Francis , Paula Hooper

The Routledge Handbook Of Planning For Health And Well-Being

Print publication date:  June  2015
Online publication date:  May  2015

Print ISBN: 9781138023307
eBook ISBN: 9781315728261
Adobe ISBN: 9781317542407


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Why should urban designers and planners be concerned about creating environments to keep people active? After all, keeping people physically active is a public health priority. Physical inactivity is an independent risk factor for the major preventable chronic diseases currently crippling health systems, as well as their associated risk factors (United Nations 2011). Globally some five million people die annually because they are physically inactive (Lee et al. 2012). It is estimated that worldwide, around 60 per cent of people do insufficient physical activity to benefit their health. ‘Sufficient activity’ is defined as undertaking 30 minutes of daily moderate activity, including walking. Apart from the direct impact on chronic disease, this is important because around 20 million children (aged five and under) and 1.3 billion adults are now either overweight or obese (World Health Organization 2006). Thus, even a modest increase in the number of physically active people could produce significant societal benefits, with substantial savings to global health systems (Stephenson and Bauman 2000).

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