Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Carolina in the News

Check out the recent media mentions of sustainability-related programs, practices, and people at UNC: 

Is environment making us fat? (Opinion-Editorial by Mieka Sanderson, a masters of Public Health candidate at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Public Health in the Health Behavior Department) 

The Robesonian 
Robeson County, population 134,000, is not only one of the largest rural counties in North Carolina but also tops the list as the biggest county within the state, BMI-wise. According to 2009 data from the CDC National Diabetes Surveillance System, nearly 40 percent of adult Robeson residents are obese compared with the national average of 25 percent. Obesity researchers have found that there is a complex link between diet, physical activity and the environment. The environment is composed of social and physical elements such as safety, as well as the actual man-made structure and layout of buildings that comprise a town, city or community. Certain physical environmental designs, also known as the built environment, allow for and actually encourage physical activity by including wide sidewalks, bike paths, and pedestrian crosswalks in land development designs. Read more »

Roadwork to snarl Chapel Hill traffic 
The News and Observer (Raleigh) 
A road project expected to cause major delays around UNC-Chapel Hill this spring could also cost nearly $2 million more to maintain existing bus service. Triangle Grading & Paving Inc. of Burlington started installing signs and removing trees Tuesday from South Columbia Street. The $4.6 million project will add bike lanes, sidewalks, a center-turn lane and bus pull-offs to a busy 0.8-mile stretch between Purefoy Road and Manning Drive. The two-lane corridor, located just south of the UNC-CH campus, is one of the busiest transit routes in the region, if not the state, Chapel Hill Transit Interim Director Brian Litchfield said. Read more » 

Walking back to the days of New Urbanism (Opinion-Editorial by Carly Sieff, a master’s student in UNC’s Department of City and Regional Planning) 
The Chapel Hill News 
The benefits we reap from walking and biking regarding obesity prevention have been proven time and time again. One study, for example, demonstrated that a 5 percent increase in walkability is associated with a per capita 32.1 percent increase in time spent in physically active travel and a 0.23-point reduction in body mass index (Frank et al 2007). Benefits also go far beyond weight loss. New Urbanism communities demonstrate improved environmental health through a reduction of emissions associated with driving; increased social capital resulting from interactions and shared experiences; decreased mental illness and anxiety that comes with driving and inactivity; and financial savings through reductions in car maintenance, gas, health-related costs and gym memberships. Read more »

Thanks to UNC News Services for finding these great stories AND compiling the summaries! You can find more UNC media coverage and stories online at http://uncnews.unc.edu.