Sprawl causes obesity. Sprawl causes obesity. For several months, we've been bombarded by news stories regarding studies that show that if you live in a suburb, you're not getting as much exercise as your city siblings, and are fatter and in poorer health than them. The S.F. Chronicle's John King, a writer I respect, criticized one of these studies as showing statistically insignificant results. But the studies keep coming. Here's news of one from the Boston University School of Public Health. When the public health officials jump on the bandwagon, it's harder to dismiss them as a bunch of eco-kooks.