Community Design Can Impact Physical Activity and Health Outcomes

Analysis of national data linking physical inactivity, chronic disease, and built environments

Researchers from Rutgers University, two public interest groups and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) examined the linkages between sprawl (urban and suburban development patterns characterized by poor accessibility and lack of public open spaces) and health.

The project ran from September 2002 to September 2003.

Key Results

The researchers found that:

  • Residents of counties characterized by sprawl were likely to walk less and weigh more and were more likely to have hypertension (high blood pressure), than residents of compact counties.