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Is your neighborhood making you gain weight?

Posted by on Jun. 12, 2012 at 6:52 AM
  • 9 Replies

6 ways your neighborhood is making you gain weight

How Neighborhoods Can Wreck Your Waistline
You might blame your weight gain on your lack of motivation, wavering willpower, and a few too many bad food decisions.  Don't get us wrong; those things matter. But there's another culprit you should also consider: your neighborhood. Whether you make your home in the suburbs, a city, or a rural area, where you live can make it easier—or much harder—to put your weight loss goals into action.

Maybe a lack of sidewalks and bike paths leaves you scratching your head over where to work out. Perhaps your area is short on grocery stores but packed with fast-food chains, or your neighbor's car alarm keeps you up all night, derailing your early-morning jog. Tally up a few of these instances and you could have a hometown problem that's interfering with even the best weight loss intentions.

"In my experience it makes a huge difference where you live. Everyone can find a way to overcome their circumstances, but people who live in the suburbs where there aren’t sidewalks and are dependent on their cars have a very difficult time getting exercise in. And in my practice, I find that they are more likely to be overweight," said Katherine Tallmadge, author of Diet Simple: 195 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations.

Here are the biggest neighborhood pitfalls that contribute to belly bulge—and how, short of moving homes, you can make fixes to start dropping pounds again.

Problem: No Sidewalks
Having to drive somewhere in order to walk safely adds a level of difficulty that even the most motivated exercisers can find derailing. "Even if my clients are very conscientious, they find it very difficult to get all of the recommended activity in for the day when they have to rely on a car to get everywhere," said Tallmadge. "Hitting 10,000 steps in a gym in one fell swoop is very challenging. And if you don't live in a situation where walking is easy, then your good intentions don’t last."

People who live further away from parks and green spaces are more likely to be heavy, according to a Danish study published last year. The self-reported study found that people living more than half a mile from green spaces had higher odds of being obese than those living less than a quarter of a mile.

How To Fix It: If you want to get some fresh air, run or walk around a local school track or do laps around the school's perimeter. Find a park and work in a few miles any way you can there, said Leslie Bonci, director of sports nutrition, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, author of Run Your Butt Off (Rodale). Or, find a way to get exercise near where you work if that's a safer area.

by on Jun. 12, 2012 at 6:52 AM
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Replies (1-9):
by on Jun. 12, 2012 at 7:15 AM

 Love the to get the time to do these lol!

by Betty on Jun. 12, 2012 at 10:15 AM

tfs - good ideas

by Sarah on Jun. 12, 2012 at 12:40 PM

 interesting.  I'm glad we live in an active neighborhood

by on Jun. 12, 2012 at 1:38 PM

We live in a pretty active neighborhood. Our community is also very *user-friendly*. LOL

by Megan on Jun. 12, 2012 at 2:12 PM

Interesting. We don't have sidewalks, well this little section of my immediate road has maybe 100 feet of sidewalk but that's it. It doesn't lead to anywhere and doesn't really begin *at* any place. Really odd. 

by on Jun. 12, 2012 at 2:14 PM

Hmmm interesting! We have sidewalks thank goodness but there are a lot of residential areas near us that do not

by on Jun. 12, 2012 at 3:40 PM

We don't even have a neighborhood, really. It's just a small but busy road, and it's too narrow to walk down. 

Our community isn't very user friendly. They don't open up the track to the public. The town next to us is so much better but I never have a way to get there.

by on Jun. 13, 2012 at 2:42 PM
Interesting! We live in a very active community
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by Sarah on Jun. 14, 2012 at 6:46 PM

Good article.  :)

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