Presentation at the 2004 Active Living Research Annual Conference
Despite numerous claims in public debates, little empirical data exists on how urban sprawl affects health. Previous studies indicate that people walk less in cities with higher levels of sprawl compared to lower sprawl areas. How this affects chronic health problems and the quality of life has not yet been studied.
To study the association between objective measures of urban sprawl and chronic medical conditions, mental health disorders and health related quality of life.
Using data from a national sample of 8,686 individuals in 38 MSAs responding to a health survey, we assessed whether chronic medical conditions, mental health disorders, and healthrelated quality of life were associated with four dimensions of sprawl developed by Ewing et al (2002) (residential density; land use mix; strength of a center; street design). Control variables included age, race, gender, education, income, marital status, family size, and employment. We also controlled for average precipitation and temperature.