Opportunities to integrate health considerations into other policies and programs can increase physical activity, sometimes at little or no extra public cost.
A shift away from the private automobile requires new planning tools, for example, a tool other than car counts for siting new businesses.
Tregoning emphasized how the built environment affects the public health in general and physical activity in particular (see Box 5-1). She distinguished between physical exercise (“something I make an appointment to do”) and physical activity (something incorporated into daily life), stressing that both have measurable benefits. As an example of the positive effects development can have on physical activity, Tregoning cited Atlantic Station, a mixed-use development in Atlanta built on the property of a former steel mill. People in Atlanta drive on average 33 miles a day; people who live and/or work in Atlantic Station drive on average only 8 to 10 miles a day.
Tregoning spoke about how planning can help combat obesity. Among a population of about 590,000, 54 percent of adults in Washington, DC, are overweight or obese, as are 22 percent of teens, the highest percentage
Impact of the Built Environment on Public Health
Harriet Tregoning, Director of Washington, DC, Office of Planning, cited five impacts that illustrate how the built environment affects public health:
SOURCE: Public Health Law & Policy, http://www.phlpnet.org.