New research challenges the myth that the suburban sprawl leads to obesity:
- A growing chorus of planners, health officials and others has said that spread-out suburbs discourage walking and might encourage obesity.
But two Oregon State University researchers have concluded there is little connection between urban sprawl and the expanding waistlines of Americans.
Professors Andrew Plantinga and Stephanie Bernell say people who are overweight and sedentary tend to gravitate toward neighborhoods with fewer opportunities for walking because it's not something they care about.
"We found very little evidence that it was the physical environment causing obesity," Plantinga said. "Rather, it seemed to be more about how people choose the types of neighborhoods to live in."