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Health Place. 2014 Mar;26:118-26. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2013.12.008. Epub 2013 Dec 21.

Relationship between urban sprawl and physical activity, obesity, and morbidity - update and refinement.

Author information

1
Department of City and Metropolitan Planning, College of Architecture and Planning, 375 S 1530 E RM 235, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA. Electronic address: ewing@arch.utah.edu.
2
Department of City and Metropolitan Planning, College of Architecture and Planning, 375 S 1530 E RM 235, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA. Electronic address: g.meakins@gmail.com.
3
Department of City and Metropolitan Planning, College of Architecture and Planning, 375 S 1530 E RM 235, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA. Electronic address: shima.hamidi@gmail.com.
4
Department of City and Metropolitan Planning, College of Architecture and Planning, 375 S 1530 E RM 235, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA. Electronic address: acnelson@utah.edu.

Abstract

AIMS:

This study aims to model multiple health outcomes and behaviors in terms of the updated, refined, and validated county compactness/sprawl measures.

METHODS:

Multiple health outcomes and behaviors are modeled using multi-level analysis.

RESULTS:

After controlling for observed confounding influences, both original and new compactness measures are negatively related to BMI, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Indices are not significantly related to physical activity, perhaps because physical activity is not defined broadly to include active travel to work, shopping, and other destinations.

CONCLUSIONS:

Developing urban and suburban areas in a more compact manner may have some salutary effect on obesity and chronic disease trends.

KEYWORDS:

Built environment; Compactness; Obesity; Physical activity; Sprawl

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