University of British Columbia researcher Lawrence Frank has documented the sprawl-driving-obesity connection more rigorously than anyone else, with his massive new study of Atlanta. (Pdf of study here.)

The gist: The more you drive and the less you walk—and the more sprawling your neighborhood—the more likely you are to be obese.

Among other findings, as summarized by AP:

How much time a person spent driving had a greater impact on whether a person was obese than other factors such as income, education, gender or ethnicity.

Frank will soon release a similar study of King County, Washington. He hinted at some of the findings in a recent interview with Seattle P-I’s columnist Bob Condor (who also pointed out that Washington’s poor record on energy use shouldn’t make us feel too superior to Georgia).

A growing body of research on obesity, activity, and sprawl is accumulating; other key contributors include the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Richard Jackson of the CDC.