Cities with more physically active residents are financially healthier too, a study has found, with benefits being higher property values, economic productivity levels and school performance.
Where walking, cycling and public transport are prevalent, the University of California study has found, there is a return of £13 for every £1 invested in these projects.
Benefits for the cities include more trade for local shops, less traffic congestion and reduced pollution. Workers are more productive too, taking on average a week less off work per year.
Chad Spoon, from the University of California’s Active Living research unit, said: “A city’s ability to compete depends on an active population. The research is clear on this – it shows how an active city can be a low-cost, high-return investment.”
The paper also suggests opening more parks and open spaces; providing bike lanes and public bike schemes; and helping ensure children live closer to their schools, the Guardian reports.