Report: 2/3 of Miami-Dade County residents overweight, obese

UM study says downtown Miami, Midtown have residents who walk more


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Could where you live determine how much exercise you get, and in turn how healthy you are?

"The reason this is of interest is because two-thirds of the population of Miami-Dade County is either overweight or obese," said Scott Brown of the University of Miami's School of Medicine.

According to a recent university study, places like downtown Miami and Midtown are more walkable and therefore have residents who walk more.

In fact, the study found that for each mile east of the urban development boundary there is an 11 percent increase in walking. Doctors say as little as 10 minutes of walking has health benefits.

UM researchers studied Cubans who have been in the country less than 40 days. Some lived near the city center and some moved out west.

"This was a group of recent Cuban immigrants who had overwhelmingly reported walking and cycling regularly in Cuba," said Brown. "Yet, within a few weeks of arrival in the U.S. we are finding as a function of where they live in Miami-Dade County they are walking more or walking less."

The study suggests that city planners in areas such as Midtown utilize mixed-use zoning by putting in shops and businesses that are walking distance for their residents. Extending Miami-Dade County's urban development boundary could make the problem worse.

"It is possible to do sprawl repair even in portions of western Miami-Dade County that would be ways that promote development, but do so in ways that allow for greater walking of residents," said Brown.