- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 8, 2001

With anthrax in the mail, smallpox in the background and other terrifying bioterrorism attacks only anticipated, it is a good thing that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention is so concerned about the public health that it has produced a report on the dangers of … suburban sprawl.
Specifically, a huge set of researchers at the CDC and lobbyists at the Sierra Club and Sprawl Watch are so concerned that their study "Creating a healthy environment: The impact of the built environment on public health" was released even before the anthrax scare subsided. The authors of this timely study seem to find buildings a far greater threat to public health than bioterrorism.
"As environments deteriorate, so does the physical and mental health of the people who live in them," proclaimed Dr. Richard Jackson, the Director of CDC's National Center for Environmental Health, in the report's overanxious preface. "We must measure the impact of environmental decisions on real people," he added. According to Sierra Club spokeswoman Melody Flowers, "Sprawl … traps us in our cars so we gain weight." While anything that daily wastes the lives of millions of Americans is certainly a big deal, even the suburbanites who have trouble touching their toes usually manage to reach door handles. Interestingly, NACCHO the National Association of City and County Health Officials contributed to the report.
Perhaps the least surprising thing about this fat waste of taxpayer money is its ham-fisted recommendations for increased federal power. It suggests that public health officials should have a say in all aspects of suburban planning everything from zoning to sidewalk placement. Heaven forbid. The CDC should restrict its research to the real diseases facing real people during this war on terrorism.


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