“The Conclusion”

Filed under :Chicago vs. Suburbs

Here is the conclusion of a year long research project that i have conducted for the University of Illinois at Chicago…
Thank you to all that participated and contributed to this study… 🙂

“Health Related Lifestyle Trends of Close Proximity Populations;
With Focus on Young Adults of the North Side and the North/North West Chicago Suburbs”

Young adults (ages 18-25), residents of either the North City of Chicago or North/North West Chicago suburbs were surveyed about the physiological, psychological, and environmental attitude of their general lifestyle trends. Based on the results, a greater level of physical activity exists in the North Chicago area; lower rates of “eating out” in the North/North West Chicago Suburbs location; and both populations agreed for City of Chicago being the overall healthier location.

The North Chicago location has demonstrated higher levels of general physical activity and exercise when compared to the North/North West Chicago suburbs area, due to the use of other modes of transportation besides the automobile (e.g. public transportation, bicycle, and walking), as well as more planned regular physical activity weekly. On the other hand, the North Chicago location demonstrated “eating out” more frequently than the North/North West Chicago location due to the proximity of restaurants and fast food places. Both, the North Chicago and North/North West Chicago suburbs population had the same attitude towards diet awareness and body image, which indicated that location, does not seem to play a role in diet awareness and body image when the locations are in such close proximity. Finally, both populations came to the agreement that the City of Chicago has a “healthier lifestyle in terms of diet and physical activity”. This may be due to the common belief that urban settings pay more attention to “health, lifestyle, body shape, and appearance”.

While both locations demonstrated some positives and negatives, overall Chicago seems to be attracting more young adults due to its characteristic lifestyle. This trend can be seen by the higher percentage of young adults in the Chicago area compared to the suburbs. Although, the location may play a role, all individuals should develop healthy lifestyle trends (healthy diet and regular physical activity) from a young age to make it a life long commitment and to prevent some of the chronic diseases that are correlated with inactive lifestyle and a bad diet.

Further study of close proximity populations in urban and rural areas with a greater number of subjects may be necessary to validate the trends observed in the current study of the Chicago-land area, as well as to find more conclusive explanations to these trends.

Modes of Transportation Related to Physical Health…

Filed under :Chicago vs. Suburbs, Health promoting

Regular physical activity has many benefits, including: reducing the risk of obesity and helping people live longer healthier lives. Yet, studies show that less then 10% of adults in the U.S. get the recommended 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day (2005 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Walking and bicycling for daily transportation are important sources of physical activity, but they have dramatically declined over the last few decades.

Here are some key research findings, supporting the benefits of: walking, bicycling, and using public transportation as important physical activities:

  • People who used public transportation, (i.e. subway, bus, commuter rail, etc.) for any reason, were less likely to be sedentary, or obese – than the adults who did not use public transportation.  Those who use public transportation on average walk 30 minutes or more each day to and from public transportation stops.  Conversely, reliance on the automobile for all travel was associated with higher obesity rates (Environment and Behavior, 2007).
  • Proximity to public transportation stops is linked to higher transit use and, therefore, higher levels of physical activity among adults (American Journal of Health Promotion, 2007).
  • Walking as a form of transportation can have beneficial consequences for communities. Less driving helps relieve congestion. Also, the well-designed landscape and residential density will improve air quality more than the additional roadways. Regulatory and design strategies, including: traffic-calming measures, sidewalks, bike paths, and tunnels – help make communities safer for pedestrians and bicyclists (Public Works & Natural Resources, 2002).

Consider incorporating walking or public transportation into your everyday life!  Building-in these habits will help you keep active, burn calories, and maintain overall health.

The main two reasons that people report for not exercising are lack of energy and time. Well, physical activity doesn’t have to be strenuous, nor does it have to consume a long amount of time to be beneficial.  It should be fairly easy to fit in at least 30 minutes of brisk walking, about five times a week, along with small lifestyle changes such as: parking the car in a farther spot, taking the stairs, or using public transportation – instead of the automobile.

I believe that once you start walking, you become physically active and may start doing additional physical activity, such as: running, or cycling – and you will be on your way to a healthier, happier, and more energetic “you”! 🙂

City of Chicago Vs. Suburbs of Chicago

Filed under :Chicago vs. Suburbs

The two areas in such close proximity, and yet such different lifestyles! Please tell me what you think…

Is the nutrition and physical activity better in the city or in the suburbs? You may explain your opinions 🙂

Also please include your current location (Chicago or Suburbs)

Some points for consideration:

It may seem that people are more active in the city, but may eat more junk food.  What about the lack of sidewalks in the suburbs, this may influence activity levels (cant walk or cycle).