Living Near Shops, Subways Linked to Lower BMI in New York City

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Feb 16 2007 - 11:22am

New York City dwellers who reside in densely populated, pedestrian-friendly areas have significantly lower body mass index levels compared to other New Yorkers, a new study finds.

Placing shops, restaurants and public transit near residences may promote walking and independence from private automobiles.

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"There are relatively strong associations between built environment and BMI, even in population-dense New York City," said Andrew Rundle, Dr.P.H., lead study author and assistant professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University Medical Center.

The study appears in the March/April issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion.

Researchers looked at data from 13,102 adults from New York City's five boroughs. Matching information on education, income, height, weight and home address with census data and geographic records, they determined respondents' access to public transit, proximity to commercial goods and services and BMI, a measure of weight in relation to height.

The authors discovered that three characteristics of the city environment

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