Expanding cities and expanding waistlines: Urban sprawl and its impact on obesity, how the adoption of smart growth statutes can build healthier and more active communities
For decades, American towns and cities have expanded from their established cores into the surrounding rural areas. U.S. population has grown but the land that we use has grown at an even faster pace, and our country has now become a largely suburban nation. Americans moved and continue to move out to the suburbs in search of better lives – for clean and healthy living, for larger homes, and for better resources. In many ways and for many Americans, the suburban lifestyle has been a great success. However, there are some unintended public health consequences of urban sprawl that must be recognized. As most Americans no longer walk or bicycle, increasingly sedentary lifestyles now contribute to greater levels of obesity, diabetes and other associated chronic diseases. This thesis reviewed the impacts of urban sprawl on the public's health specifically, as sprawl relates to decreased physical activity rates and increased obesity rates. The health effects and their connection with sprawl were identified, and available evidence was reviewed. Finally, this thesis described legal and policy solutions for addressing the health effect through improving the design of our built environment and by recommending that governments adopt and implement Smart Growth statutes that incorporate a public health component and require public health involvement.
Law|Land Use Planning|Public health
Russell-Evans, Vanessa, "Expanding cities and expanding waistlines: Urban sprawl and its impact on obesity, how the adoption of smart growth statutes can build healthier and more active communities" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1470109.