The Urban Built Environment and Obesity in New York City: A Multilevel Analysis

Mailman School of Public Health, 722 West 168th Street, Room 730, New York, NY 10032, USA.
American journal of health promotion: AJHP (Impact Factor: 2.37). 03/2007; 21(4 Suppl):326-34. DOI: 10.4278/0890-1171-21.4s.326
Source: PubMed


To examine whether urban form is associated with body size within a densely-settled city.
Cross-sectional analysis using multilevel modeling to relate body mass index (BMI) to built environment resources.
Census tracts (n = 1989) within the five boroughs of New York City.
Adult volunteers (n = 13,102) from the five boroughs of New York City recruited between January 2000 and December 2002.
The dependent variable was objectively-measured BMI. Independent variables included land use mix; bus and subway stop density; population density; and intersection density. Covariates included age, gender, race, education, and census tract-level poverty and race/ethnicity.
Cross-sectional multilevel analyses.
Mixed land use (Beta = -.55, p < .01), density of bus stops (Beta = -.01, p < .01) and subway stops (Beta = -.06, p < .01), and population density (Beta = -.25, p < .001), but not intersection density (Beta = -. 002) were significantly inversely associated with BMI after adjustmentfor individual- and neighborhood-level sociodemographic characteristics. Comparing the 90th to the 10th percentile of each built environment variable, the predicted adjusted difference in BMI with increased mixed land use was -. 41 units, with bus stop density was -.33 units, with subway stop density was -.34 units, and with population density was -.86 units.
BMI is associated with built environment characteristics in New York City.

Download full-text


Available from: Kathryn M. Neckerman,
  • Source
    • "Another significant predictor of PA is the presence and use of public transit. Children living near a high density of subway stations were found, on average, to have lower rates of obesity (Oreskovic et al. 2009), and a higher density of bus and subway stops has been associated with lower rates of overweight among adults in New York City (Rundle et al. 2007), controlling for all other factors. On average, public transit users have been found to walk 8.3 more minutes per day (Edwards 2008), and train commuters regularly walk 30 percent more steps per day than car commuters (Wener and Evans 2007). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article reviews empirical scholarship on preventable actual causes of death—namely, physical activity, food, and traffic-induced injury–related built environment interventions that lead to health improvements. A systems perspective built on the ecological health model is offered that addresses social determinants of health- and place-based contexts. In doing so, this article offers examples of upstream approaches to address the actual causes of death and ends with guidance on planning practice, research, and teaching organized around the research divisions of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning.
    Journal of Planning Literature 12/2014; 30(3). DOI:10.1177/0885412214561337 · 1.19 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "walked along routes with increased mixed land-use also had greater overall daily MVPA levels. These findings are consistent with the existing literature on the role of mixed-land use in promoting walking and weight control (Rundle et al., 2007; Saelens and Handy 2008; Ding et al., 2011). This study has several limitations. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Active commuting to school increases children's daily physical activity. The built environment is associated with children's physical activity levels in cross-sectional studies. This study examined the role of the built environment on the outcomes of a "walking school bus" study. Geographical information systems was used to map out and compare the built environments around schools participating in a pilot walking school bus randomised controlled trial, as well as along school routes. Multi-level modelling was used to determine the built environment attributes associated with the outcomes of active commuting to school and accelerometer-determined moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MPVA). There were no differences in the surrounding built environments of control (n = 4) and intervention (n = 4) schools participating in the walking school bus study. Among school walking routes, park space was inversely associated with active commuting to school (β = -0.008, SE = 0.004, P = 0.03), while mixed-land use was positively associated with daily MPVA (β = 60.0, SE = 24.3, P = 0.02). There was effect modification such that high traffic volume and high street connectivity were associated with greater moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. The results of this study suggest that the built environment may play a role in active school commuting outcomes and daily physical activity.
    Geospatial health 11/2014; 9(1):37-44. DOI:10.4081/gh.2014.4 · 1.19 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Neighborhood poverty was measured by the census tract-level percentage of individuals under the federal poverty level, which has been shown to be associated with obesity in previous studies (Black et al., 2010; Ludwig et al., 2011). It was often included as a control variable in the analysis of neighborhood context impact on obesity (Boardman et al., 2005; Rundle et al., 2007). In addition, neighborhood economic poverty measures were most robust to detect population health outcome gradients (Krieger et al., 2002). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Automobile dependency and longer commuting are associated with current obesity epidemic. We aimed to examine the urban-rural differential effects of neighborhood commuting environment on obesity in the US METHODS: The 1997-2005 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) were linked to 2000 US Census data to assess the effects of neighborhood commuting environment: census tract-level automobile dependency and commuting time, on individual obesity status. Higher neighborhood automobile dependency was associated with increased obesity risk in urbanized areas (large central metro (OR 1.11[1.09, 1.12]), large fringe metro (OR 1.17[1.13, 1.22]), medium metro (OR 1.22[1.16, 1.29]), small metro (OR 1.11[1.04, 1.19]), and micropolitan (OR 1.09[1.00, 1.19])), but not in non-core rural areas (OR 1.00[0.92, 1.08]). Longer neighborhood commuting time was associated with increased obesity risk in large central metro (OR 1.09[1.04, 1.13]), and less urbanized areas (small metro (OR 1.08[1.01, 1.16]), micropolitan (OR 1.06[1.01, 1.12]), and non-core rural areas (OR 1.08[1.01, 1.17])), but not in (large fringe metro (OR 1.05[1.00, 1.11]), and medium metro (OR 1.04[0.98, 1.10])). The link between commuting environment and obesity differed across the regional urbanization levels. Urban and regional planning policies may improve current commuting environment and better support healthy behaviors and healthy community development.
    Preventive Medicine 11/2013; 59(1). DOI:10.1016/j.ypmed.2013.11.004 · 3.09 Impact Factor
Show more