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Lean Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been fighting New York’s obesity epidemic since his first day in office, and though some of his initiatives have failed (like banning super-sized sodas), he’s still pushing hard to shrink New Yorkers’ waistlines. His latest initiative, the Center for Active Design, calls on architects and planners to make it easier for people to use the stairs instead of escalators. Just two minutes of climbing stairs a day can reduce annual weight gain, said Commissioner Burney in a recent press release.

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“New York City has been a leader when it comes to promoting healthier eating and now we’re leading when it comes to encouraging physical activity as well,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Physical activity and healthy eating are the two most important factors in reducing obesity and these steps are part of our ongoing commitment to fighting this epidemic.”

The Center for Active Design emphasis four major levels of activity: active buildings, active transportation, active recreation, as well as improved access to nutritious foods. In addition, the center will encourage friendlier streetscapes that make people want to go for that Sunday stroll, and the construction of appealing, visible staircases in all new builds.

“As a result of these initiatives, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers may now take the stairs, saving the equivalent of 500,000 pounds of weight among adult New Yorkers annually,” said Deputy Mayor Gibbs.

Via Treehugger