A new survey by the Rand Corporation says spread out suburbanites suffer more from high blood pressure, arthritis and headaches, and a serious rise in weight. This was not the case for residents of more compactly built cities, such as Seattle, New York and Boston.
The main reason is the automobile. Cities that suffer from suburban sprawl rely heavily on their cars. In more compact cities, work, schools, restaurants and points of interest are usually walkable or connected by a transit system. People who live in metropolitan areas that stretch far and away from their city center have to jump in their car to go just about anywhere.
The survey studied people living in 38 different U.S. metropolitan areas. The 3 worst areas for sprawl included California's Riverside region; Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and West Palm Beach, Florida. The 3 cities with the least amount of sprawl included New York City, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon.