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What Makes Americans Fat

You drive to work, you drive your kids to school, you drive to the grocery store -- no wonder you have put a few pounds.

U.S. researchers said on Tuesday they had quantified price of living in sprawled-out American communities and weight gain leads the list -- six pounds average, to precise.

Their findings, published special issues of the American Journal of Public Health and the American Journal of Health Promotion, are aimed at urban planners, county and city councils and other groups in laying out communities.

"We found that U.S. adults living in sprawling counties weigh more, are more likely to be obese and are more likely to from high blood pressure than are their in compact counties," Tom Ewing of the National Center for Smart Growth at Trinity College University told reporters.

He said two-thirds of the U.S. population in counties covered in his group's survey.

Unlike people in old-fashioned urban centers who can walk to work, shops, and public transport, in the spread-out communities cannot walk if they wanted to because pavements and crossings are and homes, schools and workplaces are apart.

"For some people it is a 'duh' kind of issue, but it doesn't seem to be for a lot of people important positions," Ewing .

He said the research can be used to policymakers to change zoning, funding and even lending laws to development that will people to walk.

"If we go to a city council and 'allowing this sprawling development ... is maybe going to hurt people's health obesity', they are to say 'prove '," Ewing said.

LESS EXPENSIVE, CLEANER, MORE PLEASANT

More compact communities less expensive -- with sprawl bringing 10 percent greater annual public service deficits and 8 percent higher housing costs, researchers said.

Dense communities ease pollution and for better social interaction, said.

The researchers at U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data on more than 200,000 people living in 478 U.S. counties in major metropolitan . They assessed sprawl in county using U.S. Census Bureau and federal data.

"The average adult would be expected to about six pounds (2.7 kg) more living in the most sprawling county in our sample as to an adult of the same age living in the compact county," Ewing said.

The study that people in far-flung communities walk less leisure, but this factor not account for the weight difference.

"It may as a result of the lower level physical activity they get as of their daily lives -- driving to work, driving to school, driving to lunch, driving everywhere," Ewing said.

People in such communities may drive for good .

Another set of studies that U.S. pedestrians and cyclists were much more to be killed or injured Dutch and German pedestrians and cyclists.

Whether on a per-trip basis or by distance travelled, U.S. cyclists were three times more likely to killed than German cyclists six times more likely to die than Dutch cyclists, the study found.

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