Active Transport, the Built Environment, and Human Health
Lack of physical activity is related to increased risk of major chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and several cancers. Recent research has also shown that sedentary behaviors (too much sitting) have a detrimental impact on health that is independent of physical activity. Built-environment attributes in neighborhoods can have a significant role in determining how physically active people are, and how much of the time they spend sitting. Understanding the relationship between neighborhood built-environment attributes, residents’ behavior patterns, and their health is now a burgeoning, interdisciplinary research field, which involves researchers from public health, transportation, planning, and architecture. Focusing on recent evidence, this chapter provides a perspective on how neighborhood environments conducive to residents’ active transport (more walking and less sitting in automobiles) can enhance human health as well as environmental sustainability. We suggest future research directions and discuss implications of this evidence for the integration of health promotion and sustainability through environmental design, policy and practice.
KeywordsPhysical Activity Active Transport Sedentary Behavior Environmental Attribute Neighborhood Environment
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