Report emphasises health benefits of green spaces

The link between parks and health has been strengthened by a new report, says CABE Space.

Building Health: Creating and Enhancing Places for Healthy, Active Lives provides a blueprint for action from planners and politicians, which includes changing transport policies to encourage walking and cycling. Transport and planning policies are creating places that discourage physical activity and contribute to heart disease and rising obesity rates, claims the report, published by National Heart Forum, Living Streets and CABE. Two out of seven chapters refer specifically to parks and green space. CABE senior public affairs adviser Polly Turton said: “The spirit of the document is about looking at the whole environment where green space is integrated into streets and how the design of buildings relates to the external public realm. “Public health concerns have always underpinned the building of urban parks. What is now recognised is that thinking about public health needs to be embedded in planning and management decisions, especially as obesity is on the rise.” CABE chief executive Richard Simmons said: “If a small percentage of the money spent on treating obesity-related diseases was spent on preventing them in the first place, a lot of public money would be saved.”

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