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© 2019 by Brookfield Centre For Lifestyle Medicine.

Environments influence Health and Lifestyle Behaviour

Human biology, health and lifestyle behaviour are strongly influenced by the environment. The principles of health-promoting community design are well described1-6. This approach focuses on wellness factors which intrinsically address the multiple lifestyle factors, such as increasing social connection and sense of community, which may help alleviate crime and psychosocial stress, improving access to healthy food and opportunities for physical activity to prevent obesity.

An example is ‘choice architecture’ 7, where healthy foods are placed at eye level in a school cafeteria, while less healthy junk food are positioned in harder places to reach. As a result, children are ‘nudged’ to select the healthier foods, without completely removing their freedom of choice. 

 

 

References

 

  • Antonovsky, A. Health, stress and coping. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1979.

  • Dilani, APD. Psychosocially supportive design: A salutogenic approach to the design of the physical environment. Design and Health Scientific Review 2008; 1(2): 47-55.

  • http://www.cdc.gov/healthyplaces/, accessed November 11, 2012.

  • Saelens BE, et al. Environmental correlates of walking and cycling: findings from the transportation, urban design, and planning literatures. Ann Behav Med 2003; 25(2): 80–91.

  • Sallis JF, et al. Environmental and policy interventions to promote physical activity. Am J Preventive Medicine 1998; 15: 379–397.

  • Committee on Environmental Health. The built environment: designing communities to promote physical activity in children. Pediatrics 2009; 123(6): 1591-1598.

  • Thaler R and Sunstein C. Nudge: improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness.YaleUniversityPress. 2008.

  • http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/Consortium/HP2020Framework.pdf, accessed November 11, 2012.

  • http://www.MPHAweb.org/actfresh.htm, accessed November 11, 2012.

  • http://www.beltline.org/, accessed November 11, 2012.