03/09/2010 08:00 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Is Your Town Or City Making You Fat?

MorgueFile, kconnors

If you're not as fit or as slim as you think you should be, your postcode could be to blame. At least, that's according to US researchers who say some locations encourage more activity in their inhabitants than others.

For instance, does your home town or city have lots of cycle lanes to encourage you to get on your bike? Or plenty of parks, green spaces and car-free zones that inspire you to get active outdoors?

If not, chances are you drive everywhere and spend more time on the sofa than you do working up a healthy sweat - so no wonder you're not shifting any weight.

More walking, less driving

The researchers, from Tennessee University's Obesity Research Center, discovered people who live in towns and cities where walking and cycling are encouraged are less likely to be overweight than those who live in places where using their car is the only way to get around.

So if you're serious about wanting to shape up, maybe it's time to make that move you've been thinking about lately.

Another country?

If, on the other hand, you've ever thought about moving abroad, here's an ideal reason. The Tennessee experts also analysed information from 14 countries and found the following have the most energetic populations (note the conspicuous absence of the UK from the top five):

  • Switzerland (where 50)
  • Spain (35)
  • Germany (32%)

So what would it take for you to get more exercise? Tell us what you think.