Obesity is a major health problem in the United States and around the world. To date, relationships between obesity and aspects of the built environment have not been evaluated empirically at the individual level.
To evaluate the relationship between the built environment around each participant's place of residence and self-reported travel patterns (walking and time in a car), body mass index (BMI), and obesity for specific gender and ethnicity classifications.
Body Mass Index, minutes spent in a car, kilometers walked, age, income, educational attainment, and gender were derived through a travel survey of 10,878 participants in the Atlanta, Georgia region. Objective measures of land use mix, net residential density, and street connectivity were developed within a 1-kilometer network distance of each participant's place of residence. A cross-sectional design was used to associate urban form measures with obesity, BMI, and transportation-related activity when adjusting for sociodemographic covariates. Discrete analyses were conducted across gender and ethnicity. The data were collected between 2000 and 2002 and analysis was conducted in 2004.
Land-use mix had the strongest association with obesity (BMI >/= 30 kg/m(2)), with each quartile increase being associated with a 12.2% reduction in the likelihood of obesity across gender and ethnicity. Each additional hour spent in a car per day was associated with a 6% increase in the likelihood of obesity. Conversely, each additional kilometer walked per day was associated with a 4.8% reduction in the likelihood of obesity. As a continuous measure, BMI was significantly associated with urban form for white cohorts. Relationships among urban form, walk distance, and time in a car were stronger among white than black cohorts.
Measures of the built environment and travel patterns are important predictors of obesity across gender and ethnicity, yet relationships among the built environment, travel patterns, and weight may vary across gender and ethnicity. Strategies to increase land-use mix and distance walked while reducing time in a car can be effective as health interventions.
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"It is increasingly recognised that synergistic policies in sectors outside of health, including that of transportation, may have significant potential to improve physical activity rates and hence the health status of populations (Pratt et al., 2012). Ecological evidence suggests that countries with higher rates of active transport have lower rates of obesity (Bassett et al., 2008) and that a positive association may exist between motor vehicle usage and body weight (Sugiyama et al., 2013; Ding et al., 2014; Frank et al., 2004; Jacobson et al., 2011). Although establishing the health effects of active transport policies and interventions is challenging, a recent systematic review of trials and cohort studies found consistent support for the health benefits of active transport over longer periods and distances (Saunders et al., 2013). "
"After obtaining the Sina Weibo points of interest (POIs) ① data and the check-in data ② through internet crawling technology, Long and Liu (2013) firstly managed to divide an entire research area into grid cells in consideration of various land uses reflected by these data and the actual and planned land use data of Beijing. Then, borrowing the mixed land use index proposed by Frank et al. (2004), they were able to identify the land use mix of each grid cell. Yuan et al. (2012) evaluated urban functions of the traffic analysis zone (TAZ) by using the taxi trajectory and POIs data in Beijing, and they suggested combining the bus card data with the taxi trajectory data to achieve a more comprehensive evaluation on urban functional structure. "
"Journal of Transport & Health (2015), http: //dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jth.2015.07.006i car owning households had lower overall mortality, lower rates of long-term illness, fewer symptoms, and better mental health. This is despite evidence that there is a relationship between the time spent in cars and obesity (Frank et al., 2004). For older people, access to public transport is important to allow them to access places which provide them with physical activity (Marsden et al., 2007). "