Lower incidence of diabetes in "Walkable" neighbourhoods

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NewFinnLoper
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Lower incidence of diabetes in "Walkable" neighbourhoods

Postby NewFinnLoper » Thu Jun 19, 2014 1:08 pm

Interesting study:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 130824.htm

My neighbourhood is a walkable one...one of the reasons we purchased a home where we did...
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Re: Lower incidence of diabetes in "Walkable" neighbourhoods

Postby bruyere » Thu Jun 19, 2014 4:10 pm

I hope this isn't really a surprise to anyone.

But, as always, the chicken or egg question remains. Are the people in walkable neighbourhoods those who sought out a walkabkle 'hood because they are are already predisposed to such a lifestyle, already eating healthily, walking, and so on? Or do well-designed neighbourhoods change people's behaviours? A combination of both? In what proportions?

This is what physicians, policy makers, and urban planners are grappling with right now.
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Re: Lower incidence of diabetes in "Walkable" neighbourhoods

Postby Habs4ever » Thu Jun 19, 2014 4:27 pm

For over 30 years my parents lived in a very un-walkable neighbourhood, so of course they had to drive everywhere. In November 2012 they moved to a condo in a very walkable neighbourhood. My dad walks as much as he can to do errands, my mom still doesn't walk anywhere.
Dad has always been one to exercise etc...this just gave him another way to be active.
Mom has always hated exercise, so living in a walkable neighborhood did nothing to change her behaviour.
Keep in mind they are in their late '70's. Maybe if they had moved to a walkable area sooner it might have been different for my mom, but I doubt it.
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Re: Lower incidence of diabetes in "Walkable" neighbourhoods

Postby turd ferguson » Thu Jun 19, 2014 6:07 pm

I'm always cautious about the word "walkable" because it has such a flexible definition.

My old neighbourhood in Calgary had a very high walkability score because it was a grid with straight streets and a 7-11. The reality was you couldn't walk anywhere. My new neighbourhood has a very low walkability score because (I think) the roads wind and don't connect, even though there are a lot of keyholes. What I see for walkability scores doesn't reflect reality and I wonder how much of "walkability" is biased towards older inner-city neighbourhoods and against suburbs.
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Lower incidence of diabetes in "Walkable" neighbourhoods

Postby Jwolf » Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:06 pm

Why just older inner city neighbourhoods? There are numerous neighbourhoods in many cities that are very walkable and great places to live. So much so that the number of young people learning to drive is steadily decreasing. As for being biased against suburbs- I don't think that's a bias- that's just how suburbs are. There might be great places to walk your dog, but I don't think that counts as "walkable" for this study.

But I do think agree with questioning the causal aspects of the study. And about waking the dog- maybe someone has done a study looking at dog ownership and type-2 diabetes. :)
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Re: Lower incidence of diabetes in "Walkable" neighbourhoods

Postby bruyere » Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:08 am

Speaking of definitions of walkability:

http://globalnews.ca/news/1406594/vanco ... able-city/

Hm. Interesting, how the infograohic highlights ski slopes, biking and such as part of healthy living. Yes, sure, but that's confusing issues a bit, no?

Mind you, it seems the infographic is brought to you by Walking on a Cloud. I'm feeling a need to go read more from the source.
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Re: Lower incidence of diabetes in "Walkable" neighbourhoods

Postby Jwolf » Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:41 am

Here's a site where you can put in your specific address at get your neighborhood's "walkability" score:

It also rates proximity to transit and "bikability" score (although the bike score seems to be missing for some areas).

http://www.walkscore.com/walkable-neighborhoods.shtml

The city scores are interesting too, but they don't include the suburbs or differences in neighborhoods in different parts of the city.

From the above site:

What makes a neighborhood walkable?
A center: Walkable neighborhoods have a center, whether it's a main street or a public space.
People: Enough people for businesses to flourish and for public transit to run frequently.
Mixed income, mixed use: Affordable housing located near businesses.
Parks and public space: Plenty of public places to gather and play.
Pedestrian design: Buildings are close to the street, parking lots are relegated to the back.
Schools and workplaces: Close enough that most residents can walk from their homes.
Complete streets: Streets designed for bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit.


Our neighborhood gets an 84 for walkabilty, 64 for transit, and 63 for bikeability.

In contrast, the neighborhood where I grew up (in a suburban area in Massachusetts) gets a walk score of 28 ("car dependent") and a transit score of 22. Although we could walk to elementary school-- that's about it. Where my parents live now -- 20 for walk score and 0 for transit.
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Re: Lower incidence of diabetes in "Walkable" neighbourhoods

Postby bruyere » Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:48 am

Yup. Walk Score is the group behind the article I posted.
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Re: Lower incidence of diabetes in "Walkable" neighbourhoods

Postby Spirit Unleashed » Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:03 am

Seabrook, TX scored 74 on walkability. Well, there are sidewalks and bike lanes. People do ride bikes.
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Re: Lower incidence of diabetes in

Postby turd ferguson » Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:08 am

Jwolf wrote: As for being biased against suburbs- I don't think that's a bias- that's just how suburbs are.


I'm not sure you know what "bias" means
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Re: Lower incidence of diabetes in "Walkable" neighbourhoods

Postby turd ferguson » Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:17 am

I get worked up over this topic because urban vs suburban is the current class 'war' in urban planning circles and its unfortunately a topic loaded with judgment and smug attitudes. Vancouver does the smartest thing I know which is elect councillors at-large rather than by ward, in most other cities the issues get divided along urban-suburban lines and the debates are ridiculous. And this particular thread feeds into the stereotype of the fat lazy suburbanite which I hear too often from smug inner-city types.
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Re: Lower incidence of diabetes in "Walkable" neighbourhoods

Postby Jwolf » Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:48 am

turd ferguson wrote:I get worked up over this topic because urban vs suburban is the current class 'war' in urban planning circles and its unfortunately a topic loaded with judgment and smug attitudes. Vancouver does the smartest thing I know which is elect councillors at-large rather than by ward, in most other cities the issues get divided along urban-suburban lines and the debates are ridiculous.


The other issue about the "walkablity" thing that's a bit artificial is that most people spend a huge amount of their car time commuting to and from work. A neighborhood may be highly walkable, but how many people actually live close enough to their workplace to walk? I know several people who use transit regularly or bike to work, but most people who live in high-scoring neighborhoods still drive to work. So many of my friends live in Vancouver but actually commute to the suburbs to work (as do I).

Another thing-- in the example I gave above with my parents and where we grew up-- even though the neighborhoods rated very low on walkablity, my parents have always been very active. It just wasn't walking to do errands that kept them active. But the lack of walkablity in their current neighborhood is a negative in other ways. There is no where they can get without a car (no public transit either). This was a huge problem for my father when he had to stop driving; I wish my mother didn't have to drive so much but she really has no choice. So this has nothing to do with type-2 diabetes but instead just their own safety and public safety.

turd fergeson wrote: And this particular thread feeds into the stereotype of the fat lazy suburbanite which I hear too often from smug inner-city types.

I don't think we need to start a war -- but there are definitely things about our car-dependent society that I wish we could change. There aren't easy answers though.
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Re: Lower incidence of diabetes in "Walkable" neighbourhoods

Postby purdy65 » Fri Jun 20, 2014 12:01 pm

My neighbourhood has a walkability score of 97 and transit of 94.

We can walk to anything. Dr,, Vet, Grocery stores, restaurants, parks, and we have indoor access to transit that gets us downtown in minutes. The only time we use the car is to go out of town.

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Re: Lower incidence of diabetes in "Walkable" neighbourhoods

Postby bruyere » Fri Jun 20, 2014 12:06 pm

turd ferguson wrote:I get worked up over this topic because urban vs suburban is the current class 'war' in urban planning circles and its unfortunately a topic loaded with judgment and smug attitudes. Vancouver does the smartest thing I know which is elect councillors at-large rather than by ward, in most other cities the issues get divided along urban-suburban lines and the debates are ridiculous. And this particular thread feeds into the stereotype of the fat lazy suburbanite which I hear too often from smug inner-city types.

I agree on this point, regarding the division and smugness. Suburbs can be well-designed too, and people in suburbs can make choices.

With a fair degree of shame, I admit I don't know too much about municipal politics and its structure here. I have been paying a bit more attention to it in North Van (Heck... I live next to City Hall!), but have a long way to go.
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Re: Lower incidence of diabetes in "Walkable" neighbourhoods

Postby La » Fri Jun 20, 2014 1:48 pm

bruyere wrote:
turd ferguson wrote:I get worked up over this topic because urban vs suburban is the current class 'war' in urban planning circles and its unfortunately a topic loaded with judgment and smug attitudes. Vancouver does the smartest thing I know which is elect councillors at-large rather than by ward, in most other cities the issues get divided along urban-suburban lines and the debates are ridiculous. And this particular thread feeds into the stereotype of the fat lazy suburbanite which I hear too often from smug inner-city types.

I agree on this point, regarding the division and smugness. Suburbs can be well-designed too, and people in suburbs can make choices.

IMO it's all about choices. Yes, I do think that the "walkability" scores are weighted toward infrastructure that is only available in cities, less so in suburbs. But for some people walkability isn't high on their list of things they're looking for in a neighbourhood. Maybe they get their activity in other ways. For me, it is important, which is why I chose to live where I do (in the city, 4K from downtown). But my house is small, my property size is tiny, it can be noisy/smelly/dirty, and it takes me a while to get "out of the city".
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Re: Lower incidence of diabetes in "Walkable" neighbourhoods

Postby NewFinnLoper » Fri Jun 20, 2014 2:05 pm

My neighbourhood scores a 72 on walkability, 71 on transit...

When we first moved there I was amazed at the number of people I saw walking to work every day. The bus stops are always lined up too. There's a bus route that connects the neighbourhood to the downtown transit corridor&rapid transit so you'd likely only have to take 2 busses max to get to just about anywhere in the city.

I have been walking to work for the last 8 years...And bussing before that. Come to think of it...It's been close to 20 years since I actually drove to work on a daily basis...
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Re: Lower incidence of diabetes in "Walkable" neighbourhoods

Postby bruyere » Fri Jun 20, 2014 2:36 pm

Interesting... I moved from an 80/62/74 (with rail, bus, metro, car share, and bike share) to a 92/59, then to a 98/60, with bus and car share (I guess they don't count the 13 minute walk to the Seabus).

My current 'hood doesn't have a bike score. I say it's because only crazy people want to bike up the side of a mountain. :lol:
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Re: Lower incidence of diabetes in "Walkable" neighbourhoods

Postby bruyere » Fri Jun 20, 2014 2:43 pm

La wrote:
bruyere wrote:
turd ferguson wrote:I get worked up over this topic because urban vs suburban is the current class 'war' in urban planning circles and its unfortunately a topic loaded with judgment and smug attitudes. Vancouver does the smartest thing I know which is elect councillors at-large rather than by ward, in most other cities the issues get divided along urban-suburban lines and the debates are ridiculous. And this particular thread feeds into the stereotype of the fat lazy suburbanite which I hear too often from smug inner-city types.

I agree on this point, regarding the division and smugness. Suburbs can be well-designed too, and people in suburbs can make choices.

IMO it's all about choices. Yes, I do think that the "walkability" scores are weighted toward infrastructure that is only available in cities, less so in suburbs. But for some people walkability isn't high on their list of things they're looking for in a neighbourhood. Maybe they get their activity in other ways. For me, it is important, which is why I chose to live where I do (in the city, 4K from downtown). But my house is small, my property size is tiny, it can be noisy/smelly/dirty, and it takes me a while to get "out of the city".

Right, but before we get too far into all the lifestyle choices and other factors in choice of neighbourhood, let's remember that these particular studies were looking at the correlation of the specific factor of walkability score (however questionably defined it might be) and diabetes.

And, to address my earlier point, I missed this the first time around: "The researchers controlled for variables, such as health at baseline, in order to rule out the probability that healthier people were choosing more walkable neighborhoods to begin with."
"I was thinking of you yesterday as I was running through the woods. As I jumped over a fallen tree I said "If I were [bruyere], I'd be bleeding by now"." - Turd Ferguson


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