Suburban Living Can Make You Fat!

My Bariatric Life Health Guide
  • Fall in Love, Get Married, Move to the Suburbs and Get Fat

    I suppose it remains a part of the American Dream. We settle into marriage, use those college educations to land respectable employment, start a family, and buy a house in the suburbs. 


    The air is a bit cleaner; there is more grass and it is greener; there is more elbow room and less congestion. Home sweet home. Two children, one boy, one girl, two cars and a dog named Spot. Suburban tranquility. If you opt for this lifestyle, more power to you. Many do, and that's fine. 


    If suburban living is for you that's great, but you might want to purchase a good pair of sneakers and do some serious walking because suburban living is associated with obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

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    The Future

    If a current situation is bleak, people sometimes look toward the future for relief. Given the fact that over two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, a peak toward the future might be expected. There is always tomorrow, and it might be a better day. Perhaps what we cannot do our children can. Unfortunately, the indicators for that are not good.


    In suburban Cook County tomorrow's troubles will be pretty much the same as today's. The Public Health Institute of Metroploitan Chicago sought to battle obesity in the suburbs of Chicago. They found that obesity rates were 24% higher in Cook County than the national rates for ninth-graders and 16% higher for sixth-graders. The rate for kindergartners is 40% above the national average.


    As a matter of fact, the further from the city we go the greater the possibility that our children will be overweight or obese. Children in rural areas are about 25% more likely to be overweight or obese than children in metroploitan areas.


    So why is it that relocation to those places that are believed to provide a more healthy environment have proven to be somethig less than advertised?


    Suburban Streets and Where They Lead

    Researchers from the University of Connecticut and the University of Colorado will tell you that the layout of streets in suburban areas are contributing to weight gain and many of the problems attributed to weight gain.


    Multi-lane streets are common to suburbs, and researchers note that these avenues are less friendly for walking and biking than are busy city streets. These busy roads are also condusive to fast food chains, big box retailers like Walmart, and other strip mall options that sell less healthy foods. 


    Researchers also claim that big box stores in neighborhoods contribute to "poor walkability" and those neighborhoods have a nearly 25% higher rate of diabetes and a 14% higher rate of obesity than urban neighborhoods.


    Professor Wesley Marshall has found that in extreme cases older and more dense cities kill three times less people on an annual basis than do the sparser suburban areas. It has also been discovered that people who live in suburban areas drive about 18% more than those who live in more urban areas.


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    The bottom line is that one of the main causes for different health outcomes in city and suburban environments is that cities simply promote walking and biking.   


    Living life well-fed,

    My Bariatric Life


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Published On: September 20, 2014