A Canadian study finds that people who live in neighborhoods conducive to walking may be less likely to develop diabetes. The link is fairly simple: people who walk more are less likely to gain weight and thus less likely to develop diabetes.
The study took place in Ontario over the course of five years. Researchers studied residents who did not have diabetes in 2005 at the beginning of the study, made note of where they live and how walkable it is, and tracked who developed diabetes by 2010.
At the end of the research period, scientists found a 32 percent increased risk of diabetes for people who lived in the neighborhoods with the lowest walkability score compared to those who lived in cities with the highest. "Whether that's due to social capital or opportunities for healthy behaviors, such as physical activity, or opportunities for access to healthy foods isn't clear, because a walkable neighborhood is usually associated with a lot of those things," Dr. Ethan Berke, associate professor at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire who was not involved in the research told Reuters.
"We need to rethink how we're designing neighborhoods and think about it from the perspective of what impact it has on health," said said Dr. Gillian Booth, the lead author and a researcher at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.