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Confirmed: New Yorkers Reap Health Benefits From Walking and Biking
Posted By Ben Fried On December 3, 2009 @ 4:30 pm In Bicycling,Department of Health & Mental Hygiene,Public Health,Street Safety,Walking | 10 Comments
There's a lot of interesting numbers to comb through, including some geographic data with big implications for New York City neighborhoods. First off, here are some of the major takeaways:
So in nerve-fraying NYC, getting around using your own muscle power can help alleviate mental stress. And walking and biking improves your chances of living in good health, no matter how much money you make. Chalk up more data to support Elana Schor's coinage from earlier this year: "Transportation reform is health reform." 
But the cycling gender divide is real, and it's not the only significant discrepancy revealed by this report. Geographically, there are major variations in the percentage of New Yorkers who walk and bike regularly. Follow the jump to see the DOH map.
Lots of those light yellow areas really leap out. Sunset Park, north-central Brooklyn, East Harlem, the South Bronx -- they are, by and large, compact neighborhoods that are less affluent than areas of the city with higher rates of walking and biking. They are also the areas of the city, by and large, that experience the highest rates of obesity  and diabetes , especially among young people.
The DOH report recommends a number of steps to help New Yorkers reap the health benefits of active transportation, including the construction of better infrastructure for walking and biking. This map makes a compelling argument for where to target that investment.
*You may be wondering why this figure is so low, since most New Yorkers commute via transit and must be walking a lot in the process. The methodology, according to DOH, involved asking survey participants how they get to work. Respondents could choose multiple options. Someone could say, for instance, "I walk and I take the train." Everyone who included walking, biking, running, or skating in their response counted toward the 16 percent "active commute" figure.
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URL to article: http://www.streetsblog.org/2009/12/03/confirmed-new-yorkers-reap-health-benefits-from-walking-and-biking/
URLs in this post:
 announced the results of a citywide survey: http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/pr2009/pr077-09.shtml
 PDF: http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/survey/survey-2009commuting.pdf
 "Transportation reform is health reform.": http://www.streetsblog.org/2009/07/17/transportation-reform-is-health-reform/
 obesity: https://a816-healthpsi.nyc.gov/epiquery/SASStoredProcess/guest?_PROGRAM=%2FEpiQuery%2FCHS%2Fchs2008b&var=bmicat3&ShortQuestn=Overweight+and+Obesity&LongQuestn=Body+Mass+Index+%28BMI%29+is+calculated+based+on+respondents%27+self-reported+weight+and+height.++A+BMI+between+25.0+and+29.9+is+classified+as+overweight%2C+and+a+BMI+of+30+or+greater+is+classified+as+obese.&Quest=+&Note1=+&pop=allsex2&row=none&qtype=neighbor&bivar=genhlt4
 diabetes: https://a816-healthpsi.nyc.gov/epiquery/SASStoredProcess/guest?_PROGRAM=%2FEpiQuery%2FCHS%2Fchs2008b&var=diabet2&ShortQuestn=Diabetes+ever&LongQuestn=Have+you+ever+been+told+by+a+doctor%2C+nurse+or+other+health+professional+that+you+have+diabetes%3F&Quest=The+exact+survey+question+was%3A&Note1=Women+who+had+diabetes+only+while+pregnant+are+included+in+%27no%27+category.&pop=allsex2&row=none&qtype=neighbor&bivar=genhlt4
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