According to 2016 data, there are more than 1.9billion overweight people. Fat deposits in the human body have a detrimental effect on the entire body, especially on the heart and other vital organs. The largest number of obese people, no matter how sudden it may sound, lives in New Zealand. This is a big problem because the consequences of obesity are responsible for about 5 percent of all deaths every year. As a rule, it is believed that people themselves are to blame for gaining excess weight - they say that they eat junk food and move little. But what if the layout of cities is more to blame for the obesity of people? Modern settlements are arranged in such a way that it is too difficult or impossible to get to some places on foot or by bicycle, and eateries with unhealthy fast food are located at every turn. New Zealand scientists drew attention to this and shared their observations.
The Unobvious Cause of Obesity in People
Obesity has become a serious problem all of a sudden,after 1980. Scientists believe that in such a short time, genetic or biological factors could not have become the main reason for people gaining weight. On the contrary, mass gain may be a response to changes in the environment. After all, it was in the second half of the 20th century that people had access to high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods. In addition, it became possible to get to the right places with the help of taxis and other modes of transport. People began to eat junk food and move much less.
Of course, you can avoid weight gain by takingyour diet under control and exercising. But let's face it, most people don't have the willpower to take care of their health on their own. But why would the city authorities not take care of people's health? According to scientists from New Zealand, this is more than possible. To do this, just treat the layout of the streets with more attention to detail.
How do cities harm health?
To show the weaknesses of the layoutmodern cities, scientists have created the Healthy Location Index (HLI). This system indicates five kinds of points on the map, indicating objects that prevent people from gaining good health. We are talking about fast food outlets, takeaway stores, mini markets, alcohol outlets and computer clubs. The system also indicates on the map points that favorably affect people's health: green spaces, parks, fitness equipment, fruit shops and supermarkets with healthy food.
The operation of the system was shown in three important urban areas in New Zealand:
- Wellington turned out to be a place with a large number of points with a positive impact on people's health;
- Auckland showed itself as a city with an equal number of "harmful" and "useful" institutions;
- Christchurch has become a city with an abundance of fast foods and other institutions that do not promote a healthy lifestyle.
The created system showed that in New Zealandthere is a phenomenon known as "environmental injustice". This means that in cities with poor economic development, people are much less likely to find health than in prosperous settlements. It is believed that the abundance of eateries and the lack of gyms with parks for walking can cause local residents to develop type II diabetes, depression, and other serious diseases.
See also: Why do we find tasteless food tasty when we are hungry?
How to equip cities?
Developers want to add even more to the systemfunctions, but it is not known exactly what features are in question. However, the demonstration of her work really makes you think about how much the layout of cities affects the habits and health of people. Designers of new residential complexes should pay attention to this scientific work and make sure that parks, exercise equipment and health food stores are in the sight of every resident. It would also be good to create more bike lanes so that people would be motivated to forgo public transport and get to the right places on their own.
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In order to be healthy, people really needwatch your diet. Eateries are not in vain considered dangerous objects, because they sell fast food, carbonated drinks and other "goodies" that can cause fatal diseases.