Lopez 2004 - “Urban Sprawl and Risk for Being Overweight or Obese”

Lopez, Russ, MCRP, DSc
“Urban Sprawl and Risk for Being Overweight or Obese”
American Journal of Public Health
September 2004; v.94, n.9; pp1574-1579
On the web
Relevance: High

Lopez compared responses to the CDC's nationwide Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey with a "sprawl index," derived from 2000 US Census data, that measured density and compactness in 330 US metro areas. The results: living in a sprawling, low-density metro area increased the risk of being overweight or obese.

  • After controlling for various demographics, for each 1-point rise in the urban sprawl index (1-100; SI=50((low density% - high density%) + 1)), the risk for being overweight increased by 0.2% and the risk for being obese increased by 0.5%. The current obesity epidemic has many causes, but these is an association between urban sprawl ad obesity.
  • In 2000, approximately 20.1% of the adult population was obese and 36.7% was overweight. [question: does this overweight number include obese? Obese=rectangle; overweight=square?]
  • "This is a cross-sectional study. It may take years or decades to become overweight."  To the extent that participants may move, their current place of residence may not reflect lifetime exposure to urban sprawl.


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