Approximately 60% of adults and 40% of elementary and middle school children in NYC are overweight or obese.
Physical inactivity and unhealthy diet are second only to tobacco as the main causes of premature death in the U.S. Here in New York City, approximately 60% of adults and 40% of elementary and middle school children are overweight or obese, and type 2 diabetes is also rising rapidly. To address these health concerns, the NYC Health Department is working with a wide array of partners to promote "Active Design" and transform the city's built environment to help New Yorkers get the daily physical activity they need to stay healthy.
In January of 2010, the City of New York released its Active Design Guidelines, which offer evidence-based strategies that architects, urban designers, planners and real estate professionals can use to create healthier buildings, streets and urban spaces. The guidelines were developed by a partnership of many New York City government agencies with help from the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY) as well as various private sector, community and academic partners. Over 5,000 copies of the guidelines have been downloaded.
Private foundation funding is supporting outreach efforts aimed at reaching NYC architects, urban designers, city engineers and building professionals to encourage routine use of the guidelines, and is supporting policy development that will remove impediments and facilitate broader implementation of the guidelines. Foundation funding is also supporting evaluations to assess the impact of the published guidelines on recent design projects and a cost study to understand the impacts of implementing Active Design in affordable housing projects.