When I visit my hometown, I see giant people climb out of giant cars (or SUVS, mostly). Here, in Busan, but also in Korea generally, I see slim people and the younger they are – to young adulthood – the taller they are.
While I don’t have any news about how or why the generation entering the workforce is the tallest I’ve seen in Korea (I figure it is the increased amount of protein in their diets), I just read an interesting post about land-use in cities correlated to obesity. The results aren’t startling, but until a test or two are done, it isn’t really known.
In “Walking and Obesity: the City Life and the Country Life“, Sci reports on a journal article that tracked 10,000 people in and around Atlanta, Georgia.
The people living in areas with maximally diverse land-use (residential, commercial and etc) were most likely to be slim, while those in single-use areas (think suburban residential) were more likely to be obese.
1) The more the land use is mixed where you are, the less of a probability you have of being obese. This is presumably related to walking more, but the correlation was only effective for African-American females.
2) The more you walk, the less probability you have of being obese.
3) The more time you spend in a car, the MORE probability you have of being obese.
Sounds pretty simple, don’t it? But this isn’t the easiest thing. Many people HAVE to drive to work, and often do not have enough leisure time outside of it to make up the car time with other physical activity. In addition, many people will walk more when they have somewhere to go, and suburban residential neighborhoods don’t really go in for that kind of thing. But it DOES provide some interesting data for people looking to plan new residential communities. If you make things more walkable (especially work and necessities), maybe people will walk more, and maybe that will translate to smaller probabilities of obesity and improvements in health. Maybe those people planning those overly picturesque walkable communities are on to something.
As I understand it, in suburban places where it is safe to walk, there is little nearby to walk to. I don’t know if the neighborhood I grew up in on Muskoka Road 14 could be called suburban, but if we wanted to go to the convenience store, we had to drive.
And yet, we were fairly serious walkers. Some studies show that families that eat together are closest, that sharing meal time means having good discussion time. I don’t know, but walking to Finch’s gravelpit and to Sharp’s Creek was what I remember most about being together as a family (we also had nearly every dinner together). Did I complain about how boring it was, I wonder? Certainly, there was usually nothing on the TV, on the two channels we received.
Hmm, more stream-of-semi-consciousness. Perhaps that’s what separates this blog from Gangwon Notes.
Anyway, everything is walking distance in Korea. I now have a car and use it nearly everyday, but I really don’t need to. A lot of the time, not driving is more convenient – no parking problems.
I guess it’s time to leave the car at home. Well, tomorrow; it’s bedtime now.