INSERT DESCRIPTIONOlder and better? (Kate Glicksberg for The New York Times)

Many people opt for newer homes because they are cleaner, bigger and often have more amenities. But new research shows old houses in old neighborhoods may be better for your health.

University of Utah researchers found that people who live in older, more walkable neighborhoods are at lower risk for overweight and obesity. The study, to be published in the September issue of The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, tracked the body mass index of nearly a half million Salt Lake County residents in Utah. They found that neighborhoods built before 1950 tended to offer greater overall walkability because they had been designed for pedestrians. Newer neighborhoods often were designed primarily to facilitate car travel, the researchers noted.

“It is difficult for individuals to change their behavior,” said Ken Smith, co-author of the study and professor of family and consumer studies at the University of Utah. “But we can build environments that promote healthy behavior.”