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CABE calls for healthier city design to fight flab

CABE has issued a report highlighting the need for cities to be designed to encourage physical activity.

The report, entitled Physical Activity and the Built Environment, calls for both central and local government to deliver better health through buildings and spaces.

It comes as a response to the much-hyped 'obesity epidemic', noting that two thirds of men and three quarters of women are not taking enough exercise, and a quarter of adults are obese.

The report states that most sustained exercise is taken during the course of everyday activities, such as travelling to work or going to the shops, rather than specifically to get fit.

To promote this, CABE is calling for cities to be designed to make it easy for people to walk or cycle.

The report also states that the 'quality of parks affects how much they are used for formal and informal physical exercise, and how much people choose to incorporate them in walking or cycling routes.

'Offices can be designed to support healthy activity, for example by including showers and secure parking for bikes.'

CABE chief executive Richard Simmons said: 'Increasing this everyday activity should play an important role in tackling obesity. It is simpler and easier than complex exercise routines and cheaper than joining a gym.

'We are spending billions of pounds on new homes, schools and public spaces. By investing now in the quality and attractiveness of streets and parks as part of those developments we have a golden opportunity to encourage healthy behaviour.'

by Richard Vaughan

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