Obesity and Design

I remember when I was teaching undergraduate commerce students in my first year at Roads and we had an interesting discussion around rising obesity rates and many of my students associated obesity with negative personal traits. I asked them to ‘deconstruct’ the issue, where there structural reasons for higher rates today than in previous generations? One can quickly look to the rise of fast food outlets, and now with drive through ordering, and calories from fast food tends to be less nutrient dense and contain more calories. A researcher, Elizabeth Kristjanson, in the Ottawa Neighbourhood Study, has shown that there is a definite link between the number of fast food places in a neighbourhood and obesity, and people who live in a neighbourhood with small, specialty food stores are slimmer. And there may be a correlation between walkability, access to year round local food markets, green space and diversity of recreational spaces. So, it is all a question of deliberative design for health, are our municipal governments capable of this kind of leadership?

One response to “Obesity and Design

  1. Hi Ann – Please check out the new green planning exercise that the City of Ottawa has initiated at the following link:


    Municipalities understand the needs you specify, but I’m not sure municipalities want to interfere with the fast food business can of worms (!)

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