Concerns about rising levels of obesity and cardiovascular disease have led to a considerable amount of attention to how the built environment can be designed to create more opportunities for physical activity. Physical activity is pursued in four purpose-related activity categories: work-related, household-related, recreational or leisure-time, and transportation-related. Some have hoped that by creating environments that increase travel walking and cycling, total physical activity will increase. This would have direct health benefits and also help reduce people’s weights. Research to date is mixed, however, particularly in terms of whether the environment rather than social and psychological factors affects total physical activity. What matters is creating opportunities for physical activity, however, rather than saying one environment is healthier than another.
Health and Places Initiative (HAPI) Research Brief
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