New ways of physical exercise

The future of transport:

  • The younger you are, the more likely you are to a) have a smartphone and b) use said smartphone to find information about transit
  • D-R transit world: Uber.

cycle paths are covered to protect bikers from the elements; and apartment blocks, offices, and retail outlets are designed so cyclists can ride right in:

“Two-thirds of the space in cities could be used for playgrounds and farming if we swapped car transport for cycling.”

Family friendly cities
Buildings: Family-friendly buildings need a few architectural quirks that towers for singles might not: bulk storage space for things like strollers or toys, better nighttime lighting in common areas, corridors that can fit a tricycle. They also need secure, safe play spaces—ideally ones that can be seen from inside the units or from a designated supervision area.


effects on mobility
e-shopping: delivery, people don’t need to pick it up anymore. Or, they get a coupon and need to go to the physical space.

e- conferencing: this will limit business air travel with 5 – 17 percent. Physical meetings are necessary.

e-working: people stay at home, so leave the car at home. On the other hand, the car who stays at home can be used by other family members.

E-banking: you don’t need to go to the bank anymore.

Hyper mobility
It will be more dangerous for those not in cars. There will be more metal (or carbon fibre) in motion. The increase in danger is not well reflected in accident statistics. The fact that there are now about one third as many children killed every year in road accidents as in 1922 when there was hardly any traffic and a nation-wide 20mph speed limit, does not mean that the roads are now three times safer for children to play in; they have become so dangerous that children are not allowed out any more. The retreat of pedestrians and cyclists of all ages will continue. As traffic increases, fewer people try to cross the street – one of the reasons why diminishing numbers of people know their neighbours on the other side of the street.

It will be more hostile to children. Children’s freedoms will be further curtailed by parental fears, and the social catalyst of children playing in the street will disappear. In Britain, as recently as 1971, 80% of 7 and 8 year old children got to school on their own unaccompanied by an adult. Now virtually none do, and the Government issues guidance to parents warning that allowing children under the age of 12 out of the house unaccompanied is irresponsible. As the world becomes ever fuller of traffic it becomes increasingly full of strangers; primary schools routinely run “Stranger Danger” campaigns – amplifying parental fears and inculcating paranoia at a tender age.

It will be fatter and less fit. Children with parental chauffeurs no longer acquire the habit of walking or cycling to school, friends or other activities. As functional walking and cycling 5 disappear, we will have less exercise built into daily routines, although this is a trend that appears to be being partially offset by the growing numbers of people who drive to health clubs to run on treadmills. The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention recently identified America’s dependence on the car as the principal cause of the country’s epidemic of obesity, declaring that “decades of uncontrolled suburban sprawl conceived around the motor car have left Americans unable to walk even if they wish to.” And the return of infectious diseases like tuberculosis to the developed world is attributed, at least in part, to the growth of international air traffic.

fact and figures about obesity

Future Choices project makes clear that the future scale and cost of the obesity problem will be very substantial if concerted action is not taken now. By 2050, 60% of males and 50% of females could be obese (Figure 2.5, p 35), adding £5.5 billion to the annual total cost of the NHS by 2050, with wider costs to society and business estimated at £49.9 billion

The association between environmental characteristics and physical activity, with obesity as an outcome, has not been well studied. Nevertheless, the general picture emerging is that residents of highly walkable neighbourhoods are more active and have slightly lower body weights than their counterparts in less walkable neighbourhoods, as do those living in areas with high land-use mix.

Perceptions of social nuisances in the local neighbourhood increase the risks of obesity, while good access to leisure centres and living in a suburban environment reduce the risks. Some research suggests an association between participation in physical activity and the density of recreational sports facilities in a Foresight Tackling Obesities: Future Choices Project 54 neighbourhood. However, it seems that access to these facilities is socially patterned, with fewer opportunities for those in the most deprived neighbourhoods.

An important question is whether the environment exerts its greatest effect on people for whom physical activity is already important, who have the confidence to participate and who are surrounded by like-minded individuals. At present, there is scant evidence on whether the environment might have different effects on people who have contrasting levels of physical activity and body weight.

There is a need for more research that examines the relationship between environmental characteristics and overall activity levels. But changes to the environment alone are unlikely to solve the problems of increasing obesity and declining levels of physical activity, though they are an important element in doing so. Indeed, the design of the urban environment offers significant opportunities to simultaneously to pursue goals of environmental sustainability and healthy lifestyle.

Eating habits have become more unstructured, and low-cost, energy-dense ‘food and drink on the go’ is widely consumed. For a multitude of reasons, healthy lifestyles may be less available to those on low incomes.

First, an environment that supports and facilitates healthy choices must be actively established and maintained.

Second, individuals need to be encouraged to desire, seek and make different choices, recognising that they make decisions as part of families or groups and that individual behaviour is ‘cued’ by the behaviours of others, including organisational behaviours and other wider influences.

The strategy needs to be planned and co-ordinated effectively by Government and must involve multiple stakeholders. The role of non-governmental organisations – businesses, employers and voluntary organisations – is also critical and in some cases may be the dominant influence. National strategic action must be coherent, with local strategies that reflect local conditions, needs and aspirations.

The promotion of healthy eating has a potentially positive role in social inclusion by helping individuals and families improve their food preparation skills, and their nutritional intake, with potential benefits on child development and behaviour; it could also help neighbourhood regeneration by improving local food sourcing. Promoting walking and cycling implies attention to local environmental circumstances, boosting positive perceptions of neighbourhood security and community integration.

The factors that promote social inclusion also apply to the enhancement of well-being. People who are physically active, with a full and engaged social life, and ‘in control’ of their diet and other consumption patterns are more confident and resilient; conversely, people who are inactive, isolated and who lack food skills are more vulnerable.

Core principles for tackling obesity

1 A system-wide approach, redefining the nation’s health as a societal and economic issue

2 Higher priority for the prevention of health problems, with clearer leadership, accountability, strategy and management structures

3 Engagement of stakeholders within and outside Government

4 Long-term, sustained interventions

5 Ongoing evaluation and a focus on continuous improvement.

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