On a day when: a new report suggests that the UK is among Europe’s unhealthiest nations, another shows that 18.7% of children leaving primary school in England are obese (33.4% are overweight), and the Government wants to cut the cost of the NHS, maybe it is time we changed the way we do things? But what to do? Well, maybe we should think about making our towns and cities healthier places to live. Maybe we should look to the countries with the lowest levels of obesity in Europe (which include Switzerland, Italy, and the Nordic Countries) and see if there is anything we can learn from them. As it happens, the Danish Architects and Urban Quality Consultants, Gehl, posted this Infographic yesterday:

ic neighbourhood graph_large" /Infographic by The National Building Museum in Washington DC, USA.

They suggest that active travel is an important part of the mix in keeping obesity rates low, along with a healthy diet. Interestingly, Switzerland and the Nordic Countries also have low levels of road traffic deaths, and lower levels of heart disease and stroke than the UK. If we really want to reduce our health cost then we really need to tackle obesity, after all health care expenditure for an obese person at least 25% higher than for someone of normal weight. With the UK now being the fattest nation in Europe, it is time for change!!