According to a recent New York Times article, researchers are encouraging building designers to make stairs more appealing to people so that more people use them. This would hopefully help to curb the obesity problem in America, according to the researchers.
Some ways the researchers suggest would promote stair usage would be to:
1) Make them more accessible and not hidden in hard-to-reach places
2) Use more lighting
3) Create a more appealing design
4) Paint the walls
5) Put on music
6) Hang up artwork
7) Display encouraging signs
I personally opt to take the stairs most of the time, unless I am feeling really tired or sick, or if I am going to one of the highest floors. Stairs are a great way to get exercise without going to the gym.
However, I’m not sure how much stairs would actually help the obesity problem. Walking up stairs twice a day does not do much to help weight loss, at least from my experience.
I suppose that once people start feeling comfortable walking up and down stairs, they might feel encouraged to try a more rigorous workout elsewhere. That could definitely help the obesity problem: more exercise in general.
Workplaces, businesses, schools, an more should put more healthy snacks in vending machines as well. I have seen more of that recently, but it can still be improved. This would most likely help people make healthier choices. Of course, bringing healthy food from home is a much better alternative, but some people are too lazy or forget while in a hurry.
Link to article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/16/health/research/16fitn.html?_r=1&ref=health