Contributor corner: Catherine de Lange

Catherine de Lange

Catherine is a science journalist, editor and multimedia producer living in London, UK. She is especially interested in people, what makes us tick - including genetics, neuroscience, health,  psychology and tech. She is also very interested in gender equality, public health and anything to do with food, gadgets, and preferably both together.

Her written work has been published in New Scientist, Nature, the Observer, the Washington PostCosmos Magazine, SciDev.Net, BBC Future, and Technologist magazine among others.  She has worked on TV programmes such as the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, radio documentaries including BBC Radio 4's 'Dear Professor Hawking', and podcasts for the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Twitter: @catdl

What is your feature about?

It's about a massive project in Brazil to set up free gyms in poor communities, in an attempt to tackle the epidemic in obesity and chronic diseases that go with being inactive. But it's also about inequality and how, for many people, being active and healthy is a luxury that isn't available to them.

What did you learn that you didn't expect?

I was surprised how something as simple as having a safe place to exercise could make such a big difference to people's quality of life - not just to their health, but making communities safer, forming social networks, and empowering communities with few resources to demand more in other sectors too.

I also didn't expect that I would end up rethinking my own attitude to exercise - how bigger the benefits would be if I used it as a way to connect to the environment and other people rather than pounding the treadmill in the gym with my headphones on. It also made me question why we don't invest in similar schemes in the UK, especially as a way of dealing with issues of social isolation and loneliness, let alone the obvious health benefits that come with being active.

Read Catherine’s feature on Mosaic, publishing 10 June 2014.