Prof Sallis, J. et al. The Lancet, vol 387, No 10034, 2207-2217 28 May 2016
The following research has been published in the Lancet ‘Physical activity in relation to urban environments in 14 cities worldwide: a cross-sectional study’.
Evidence is growing that the design of urban environments has a role in the pandemic of physical inactivity, which is contributing to several non-communicable diseases. Numerous reviews have reported evidence that adults tend to be more physically active when they live in higher density, mixed-use neighbourhoods with destinations such as shops and parks within walking distance. Improvements in the evidence about built environments and physical activity are important because environments are constantly changing in ways that could have positive or negative effects on whole populations over many years.
Design of urban environments has the potential to contribute nearly 90 min/week of physical activity, which is 60% of the 150 min/week recommended in physical activity guidelines. These potentially large effects of built environments were reported to apply similarly across ten diverse countries, indicating that urban design should be a globally relevant public health priority. Building, retrofitting, and maintenance of physical activity supportive features in cities worldwide to increase residential density, provide good transport service, and ensure access to parks would be expected to substantially increase physical activity in the population on a permanent basis and contribute to meeting the UN’s goals to reduce non-communicable diseases.