cobblestone street walk

According to a new study by UCLA public health experts, the physical environment of your neighborhood can affect your health.

"If it's not easy to walk to places, you're surrounded by unhealthy food choices, and you spend hours each day driving to and from your job; that's a powerful determinant of your health." said Dr. Richard Jackson, a pediatrician and professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at UCLA's Field School of Public Health.

Poorer communities, in particular, are susceptible to these health risks because they lack infrastructure and access to outdoor amenities. Faculty and students at the Fielding School are working with key stakeholders in Los Angeles to build green spaces to public transit, bike lanes and streetscapes that are geared toward optimizing public health. The focus will be on transportation equity, or aligning a community's infrastructure with the needs of its residents.

One of the most successful outcomes of these efforts is CicLAvia, an open-streets event where hundreds of people walk, bike, or skate to get active and engaged in their communities. CicLAvia events inspire active, green lifestyles in its participants; less than half arrive to these events by car, choosing instead to walk, bike, or take transit. For more information about CicLAvia, including upcoming events, click here. To read more about the new public health study, visit the UCLA Newsroom.