Alison Motluk reports on recent research at the U of T and St Michael’s Hospital which investigated the correlation between walkability of neighbourhoods and the onset of diabetes. The results of the study show that walkable neighbourhoods do a better job of preventing diabetes than even use of medication. According to the study, the positive effect of walkability is particularly great in lower-income areas and with certain immigrant groups more susceptible to diabetes. The researcher, Gillian Booth who is an endocrinologist, suggested that because health is so clearly related to the walkability of neighbourhoods
Canadians should rethink how we build communities. We could set minimum standards for density and public transit, for instance, and reevaluate how development happens, she says.
The medical evidence for the health of walkable neighbourhoods appears clear from this study. Would you ever have expected an endocrinologist, acting in her professional capacity, to advocate for more thoughtfully-planned development? I would not have expected this, and I find it remarkable to hear her say it.