Two studies presented at 2014 American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions found that adults living in areas with greater walkability had a lower risk of developing diabetes over a 10-year period and that walkable neighborhoods have the lowest incidence of obesity, overweight, and diabetes.

Researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto compared adults living in areas of southern Ontario and found that those living in neighborhoods with greater walkability had an average 13% lower rate of diabetes development over a 10-year span vs. those living in less walkable areas. However, those who were age ≥65 did not see this benefit. An additional study also found that the most walkable neighborhoods had the lowest incidence of obesity, overweight, and diabetes, with overweight and obesity falling by 9% over the 10-year span but increased by 13% in the least walkable areas.

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The authors emphasize that policy changes with a population-based approach is needed to solving the issue of obesity along with individual strategies.

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