Sorry for the lull this week -- it was the first week of classes, yadda yadda yadda, [insert more excuses here].
Anyhoo, I found this article on CNN today, which seems to be saying that living in a walkable neighborhood makes you less likely to be 'obese' (or to 'weigh less' -- the two are sort of conflated here). The conclusion is very interesting and makes a lot of sense intuitively, though I had a little trouble following the argument as it was made in this particular summary of the original research. The CNN article says there is no statistical difference among (self-identified?) 'exercisers' or among 'non-excercisers' based on whether or not they live in walkable neighborhoods, so this seems to contradict the point of the article -- but I think it is just poorly written, because this more in-depth article from Science News Magazine online does make a statistical connection. Maybe what's going on is that there are more 'exercisers' in walkable areas. Actually that would make sense given the discussion towards the end of the Science News article, where it is pointed out that maybe people who are naturally sedentary prefer to live in non-walkable neighborhoods since they prefer to drive everywhere anyway. So maybe there is actually more of a 'sorting' going on than a causal relationship between walkable cities and lower rates of 'obesity' (however they measured that -- probably BMI). But the Science News article goes on to draw what I think is a pretty reasonable conclusion based on the studies they describe, and that is that even if there is some sorting going on, people who live in walkable neighborhoods will do more walking even if they're not big fans of walking generally. So there is still a health benefit to living in a walkable neighborhood, and regardless of whether this leads to weight loss or not, it's a good thing. One researcher, an economist, is quoted in the Science News article as saying that the people drawing a connection between non-walkable cities and fat are just smart-growth proponents trying to 'hijack the obesity epidemic' to advance their agenda. As far as I'm concerned, the 'obesity epidemic' hysteria is so ridiculous and overblown that I don't mind if all that energy gets shifted to a more reasonable and productive purpose like convincing people that our neighborhoods need to be more walkable.
In other news, we are going to get a cat! Photos to follow...
Also, Michigan lost again this week. Or, I should say, they were humiliated. By Oregon. 39-7. At home. Life is good.