May 10, 2013,
By Lisa Stark
In the fight against childhood obesity, the weapons have been many. Schools have tried exercise and education, and the government has mandated healthier school lunches. Now a school district in Virginia is believed to be the first in the country to try something radical —redesigning the school building, itself.
“It’s not completely out of thin air,” said public health expert Terry Huang, who helped spearhead the project, [and is a member of an expert scientific panel for the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR)]. “It is rooted in a long history of reinventing school designs to promote learning and mental well-being. We simply took that one step further.”
The result is a new elementary school for 970 kindergarteners through fifth-graders that opened this school year in rural Buckingham County, Va. From the ground up, the school is designed to promote activity and healthy eating. Continue reading
Jan. 29, 2013,
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
“Living in a neighborhood that’s home to lots of outdoor food advertising may increase your chances of becoming overweight or obese,” said Lenard Lesser, MD, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Clinical Scholar (2009-2011). His new study is the latest work to reveal yet another link between the built environment and health.
“Determining why people eat certain foods and how they are influenced is a very complex process,” Lesser said. To test his hypothesis about the relationship between weight and outdoor advertising, Lesser and his team analyzed a telephone survey of adults, ages 18 to 98, from parts of California (Los Angeles near Drew University) and Louisiana (New Orleans near Tulane University). Continue reading
As the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and other official groups have recognized environmental and policy changes as promising strategies for controlling obesity and improving diet and physical activity, various measures have been identified for use by researchers and practitioners to plan and evaluate changes to the built environment. The Built Environment Assessment Training (BEAT) Institute trains participants to use these measures. Continue reading
The 2012 Built Environment Assessment Training (BEAT) Institute is happening now in Boston, Mass.
The goals of the Institute are to: prepare investigators and practitioners to use both observational and self-report measures of nutrition and activity environments and related behavioral assessments through lectures, fieldwork, hands-on skills, group work and individual consultation; and increase the number of professionals qualified to conduct built environment assessments for nutrition and physical activity.
We sat down with a BEAT Institute graduate to learn more about the “built environment” education she received. Continue reading
There is growing evidence that the “built environment” or physical characteristics of a community can have a major impact on obesity, physical activity, and overall health. NCCOR External Scientific Panel (NESP) member Jim Sallis will discuss the role environment plays in influencing physical activity at next week’s Built Environment Assessment Training (BEAT) Institute. Continue reading
Numerous research examines the “built environment,” defined as the man-made entities that form the physical characteristics of a community.
This includes buildings, roads, utilities, homes, food stores, restaurants, fixtures, parks, and more. It also includes what’s captured by the broader concept of “environment” – streetscapes and transportation environments, nutrition and physical activity environments, and everything in between. Continue reading
Two new companion studies from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggest that living in a healthy environment can have a positive impact on you and your child’s waistline. The first of these studies describes the development of innovative GIS-based constructs for physical activity and nutrition environments. A follow-up study validates these measures by finding that adults and children who live in neighborhoods favorable to healthy eating and active living are less likely to be obese than those who live in less healthy neighborhood environments. Continue reading