It’s no secret that obesity rates continue to climb. When you’re obese, your risk increases for hypertension, diabetes and kidney disease. One can debate how to battle all this, but one thing’s clear: increased exercise is a key component. Walking is the simplest and cheapest exercise. But increasing our access to walkable routes takes a community partnership. It’s more than adding sidewalks. It’s about planning. Walkable Communities Inc. says you need the 5 Ds and one P. They include Destination accessibility, Diversity – a mix of uses, Density -sufficient people so that costs are contained, Design, Distance to Transit, and Parking. None of these happen overnight. But, just like the benefits of exercise, they happen one step at a time. There is research showing that walkable cities improve the health of residents. They attract people of all ages. They also lower crime rates. In short, when a community is walkable, it becomes a ‘community’ in the true sense of the word. If your community needs revamping to be more walkable, talk with municipal leaders. In the long run, it may be one of the most cost-efficient treatments for our long-term health problems.
Benita Zahn, DPS-Bioethics
Channel 13 - Benita Zahn
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