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Posted at 12:55 PM ET, 10/12/2011

Your neighborhood could be making you move less

Daniel Waggener of D.C. runs in Rock Creek Park. (Astrid Riecken - ASTRID RIECKEN PHOTOGRAPHY)
Just about every imaginable factor in our lives makes it easier for us to be less healthy; now, the focus is on our neighborhoods. New research shows that people who don’t live within a half-mile of a park or other open space are less likely to exercise.

A new American Journal of Preventive Medicine study examines how a neighborhood’s environmental factors can change the way we move. The study focused on American women and took into account an area’s crime rates, sidewalks and proximity to local businesses and recreational facilities.

Washingtonians are well-known for enjoying exercise, and data show that residents have access to recreational spaces. According to a 2010 CDC report, 97 percent of census blocks have a park within a half mile, and 75 percent of census blocks have access to a fitness center within a half mile. The percent of young people who have access to community centers or sidewalks in their neighborhoods is lower, at 71 percent.

But safety is another question. Do you feel like you can safely exercise where you live? What related problems — lack of sidewalks or otherwise — do you encounter in your neighborhood?

(Hat tip to Good.)

By  |  12:55 PM ET, 10/12/2011

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