The built environment and obesity

Mia A. Papas, Anthony J. Alberg, Reid Ewing, Kathy J. Helzlsouer, Tiffany L. Gary, Ann C. Klassen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Obesity results from a complex interaction between diet, physical activity, and the environment. The built environment encompasses a range of physical and social elements that make up the structure of a community and may influence obesity. This review summarizes existing empirical research relating the built environment to obesity. The Medline, PsychInfo, and Web of Science databases were searched using the keywords "obesity" or "overweight" and "neighborhood" or "built environment" or "environment." The search was restricted to English-language articles conducted in human populations between 1966 and 2007. To meet inclusion criteria, articles had to 1) have a direct measure of body weight and 2) have an objective measure of the built environment. A total of 1,506 abstracts were obtained, and 20 articles met the inclusion criteria. Most articles (84%) reported a statistically significant positive association between some aspect of the built environment and obesity. Several methodological issues were of concern, including the inconsistency of measurements of the built environment across studies, the cross-sectional design of most investigations, and the focus on aspects of either diet or physical activity but not both. Given the importance of the physical and social contexts of individual behavior and the limited success of individual-based interventions in long-term obesity prevention, more research on the impact of the built environment on obesity is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-143
Number of pages15
JournalEpidemiologic Reviews
Volume29
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2007

Fingerprint

Obesity
Body Weights and Measures
Diet
Empirical Research
Language
Cross-Sectional Studies
Databases
Research
Population

Keywords

  • Environment design
  • Obesity
  • Residence characteristics
  • Social environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

Cite this

Papas, M. A., Alberg, A. J., Ewing, R., Helzlsouer, K. J., Gary, T. L., & Klassen, A. C. (2007). The built environment and obesity. Epidemiologic Reviews, 29(1), 129-143. https://doi.org/10.1093/epirev/mxm009

The built environment and obesity. / Papas, Mia A.; Alberg, Anthony J.; Ewing, Reid; Helzlsouer, Kathy J.; Gary, Tiffany L.; Klassen, Ann C.

In: Epidemiologic Reviews, Vol. 29, No. 1, 05.2007, p. 129-143.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Papas, MA, Alberg, AJ, Ewing, R, Helzlsouer, KJ, Gary, TL & Klassen, AC 2007, 'The built environment and obesity', Epidemiologic Reviews, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 129-143. https://doi.org/10.1093/epirev/mxm009
Papas MA, Alberg AJ, Ewing R, Helzlsouer KJ, Gary TL, Klassen AC. The built environment and obesity. Epidemiologic Reviews. 2007 May;29(1):129-143. https://doi.org/10.1093/epirev/mxm009
Papas, Mia A. ; Alberg, Anthony J. ; Ewing, Reid ; Helzlsouer, Kathy J. ; Gary, Tiffany L. ; Klassen, Ann C. / The built environment and obesity. In: Epidemiologic Reviews. 2007 ; Vol. 29, No. 1. pp. 129-143.
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