America’s obesity crisis is creating a new concern to make healthy cities, though the rhetoric outstrips the plans. A recent blog on a health website says that more than half of U.S. adults don’t meet the recommended daily requirements for aerobic exercise or physical activity. It makes the case for better planning and design to tackle the problem.
In her blog, Gloria Caulfield says that “The American College of Sports Medicine found that America’s healthiest cities were those that provided a mixture of infrastructure, community assets and policies that encourage healthy lifestyles. From walking paths to bike lanes, free fun runs to childhood obesity programs, communities can – and must – make encouragement of healthier lifestyles a priority.”
However, she also reports a survey by the American Planning Association, which found that less than 10% of respondents said their jurisdiction had a comprehensive plan explicitly addressing obesity prevention, social capital, mental health, chronic disease, food security, health disparities, nutrition, clinical services, infectious disease, food safety or injury prevention.
Her message to planners is “Consult with local public health and health care officials to understand what community attributes will most resonate with the local population and incorporate that advice into the master plan.”
See also my recent blog on planning for health and well-being, and other recent newsflashes on this website on links between green envronments and physical activity, air pollution and health in New Delhi and also an earlier blog on planning and public health in a rapidly urbaising world.