Austin's NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Austin

Moving to Mueller? Texas A&M Researchers Seek People for Study on Active Lifestyles

Mueller_Houses_Dawn_gjmj.jpg
flickr.com/gjmj
Researchers at Texas A&M are investigating how much a community designed to be activity friendly like Mueller affects how active its residents are.

How much does the layout of a neighborhood affect the health of the people who live in it?  That’s a question researchers at Texas A&M will try to answer by taking a closer look at the Mueller Development in Austin. They’ll do so with a $2.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Texas A&M researchers, including experts in public health, architecture, engineering and computer science, hope to work with some 350 adults who move to Mueller from less activity-friendly communities. 

"The hypothesis is that an activity-friendly community will lead to more activity," says Marcia Ory, a researcher and professor at Texas A&M. "We haven't done the research yet but certainly the hypothesis is that the built environment makes a difference in making it easy to be more active. So we want to validate what our assumptions are."

They’ll be using wearables with global positioning system technology to determine how active they are as well as when and where they’re active — whether it's at work, at home, in the morning or the evening. 

Mueller is a planned urban community that has sidewalks and open spaces intended to boost physical activity and interactions with neighbors. The research will show whether it’s accomplishing what it set out to do.

Texas A&M conducted a pilot study last year that found people who moved to Mueller had significant reductions in driving. Residents reported on average a 40 percent increase in walking and biking. The new study will be longer term and should provide more details on how neighborhood design can affect people’s health. 

This is a five-year study, and researchers plan to interview people over the next couple of years. Those interested in moving to Mueller and participating in the study can contact Zhipeng Lu at 
luzhipeng [at] tamu.edu or 979-845-6183.

Related Content