Walk This Way


Think you're happy with your suburban home, shuttling your kids around in the Grand Cherokee? Think again, fat ass. You don't know what's good for you.

Fortunately, public health experts do. USA Today reports:

Many experts on public health say the way neighborhoods are built is to blame for Americans' physical inactivity—and the resulting epidemic of obesity.

The health concern is a new slant on the issue of suburban sprawl, which metro regions have been struggling with for a decade. These health experts bring the deep-pocketed force of private foundations and public agencies into discussions about what neighborhoods should look like.

The argument over whether suburbs are bad for your health will hit many Americans precisely where they live: in a house with a big lawn on a cul-de-sac.

"The potential for actually tackling some of these things, with the savvy of the folks who have tackled tobacco, is enormous," says Ellen Vanderslice, head of America Walks, a pedestrian advocacy group based in Portland, Ore.

A study by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking 8,000 residents of Atlanta to determine whether the neighborhood they live in influences their level of physical exercise. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in New Jersey, the country's largest health care philanthropy, is spending $70 million over five years on studies and programs to make it easier for people to walk in suburbs, cities and towns. "We want to engineer routine activity back into people's daily lives," says Kate Kraft, the foundation's senior program officer. "That means we need to start creating more walkable, bikeable communities."

Don't you miss all the routine activity your ancestors enjoyed, like washing clothes by hand and gathering wood for the stove?

Public health busybodies have been attributing obesity to suburban living for a while—Nick Gillespie commented on this in 2001.

Now they are turning to the anti-smoking movement for tips on how to save us with zeal.