Obesity is a major health crisis in the U.S. Although it’s often framed as a personal challenge – eat a better diet, get more exercise – urban scholar John Rennie Short of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, sees an important role for city planners.

Cities didn’t create the epidemic, he explains, but their failure to promote healthier lifestyles exacerbates the problem. Conversely, cities that adopt policies that make it easier to eat well and be active tend to have healthier residents. Integrating healthy lifestyles into urban planning can be a cost-effective way to fight obesity, Short writes.

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Is your city making you fat? How urban planning can address the obesity epidemic

John Rennie Short, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Four out of 5 Americans live in cities, so urban planning can make a big difference in our lifestyles – especially if it promotes healthy diets and physical activity.

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