Kinetics : designing the built environment to combat obesity

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Spencer, Cameron M.
Pavlechko, Gary M.
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Thesis (B.?.)
Honors College
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Obesity, including its consequences and its costs, is the single greatest public health crisis in modern America. It has been directly linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma, injury, depression, violence, and social inequity. These medical problems, and others, contribute to skyrocketing healthcare costs related to obesity and inactivity. Worse yet, the percentages of overweight and obese Americans continue to grow, and efforts to encourage healthy decisions have to this point seemed moot. Hope, however, may be on the horizon. Design professionals, such as engineers, architects, and planners, could be the next generation of healthcare professionals thanks to a blossoming initiative called active design. Active design is the practice of structuring the built environment in such a way that it encourages and helps people to make healthier lifestyle decisions. The analysis of active design, both in theory and in practice, may provide aspiring designers with the necessary insight and inspiration to transform the sedentary, overweight American culture of today into the active, healthy American culture of tomorrow. As an aspiring designer, I examine and analyze active design and its role in public health, and provide examples of how it can be applied to the built environment,