Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Urban Sprawl and Expanding Waistlines

A new Statistics Canada study has revealed that adults who live in cities are less likely to be obese than those who lived in outlying areas.
"as the size of the city increased, the likelihood of being obese fell. In CMAs with a population of at least 2 million (Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver) only 17% of adults were obese. The comparable figure for CMAs with a population of 100,000 to 2 million was 24%. In urban centres with populations of 10,000 to 100,000, 30% of adults were obese."

While the diet and fitness industry promotes individual solutions to obesity through the consumption of high-priced "specialty" foods (low-carb being the latest craze) or purchasing a whole gammut of excercise equipment (exercise balls, palates bands, etc.), the real solution to obesity is pro-people urban planning. Larger numbers of poor and working class are being pushed out of downtown Toronto by the lack of affordable housing into the suburbs, where there is less access to public transit, recreation facilities, or local shops within walking distance. The government let the developers make a killing off of urban sprawl, but the health of the people is being sacrificed in the process.