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Sunday, May 30, 2004

Forget Atkins, just cut out urban sprawl

Today's Washington Post has a story headed "Car Use Drives Up Weight, Study Finds." The basic thesis is that people who live in the suburbs are fatter because they use their cars more and don't walk as much as people in cities. This would be a fine and dandy conclusion if the study actually showed such a causation, but it doesn't. At all.

Yes, the researchers found a positive correlation between car use and obesity, but they also found that 90 percent of their subjects did not walk at all, regardless of where they lived (city or suburb). So, it's hard to see how they can justify their conclusion that it's all that walking the city folks do that keeps them slimmer. Could it not be related to their income levels instead? Urban dwellers tend to have a different socioeconomic profile from suburbanites. Maybe the former are more likely to diet or go on health food kicks or or join gyms or simply be able to afford spending more or fruits and veggies.

Obviously, I don't know the answer, but I think it's a little early for the urban planners to start jumping up and down with self-satisfied smiles and lecturing us about how sprawl causes obesity. Despite what the Washington Post may say, that isn't what the study proves.

Posted by Marni Soupcoff on May 30, 2004 | Permalink

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Comments

why the big deal abut sprawel when it look like the new big thing are gated comunetys and privat cops?

Posted by: hansrns | 2004-05-31 6:04:55 AM


why the big deal abut sprawel when it look like the new big thing are gated comunetys and privat cops?

Posted by: hansrns | 2004-05-31 6:05:31 AM



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