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The Built Environment & Obesity

built environment

We are evaluating the relation of the food, land use, physical activity, and social environments, measured as features of communities, with body mass index by studying more than 160,000 children with a Geisinger primary care provider. We have funding from the National Institutes of Health as part of the Johns Hopkins systems-oriented childhood obesity center. This new Center has three research projects, one of which is centered at Geisinger, and is applying mathematical modeling methods often used in engineering, such as complex dynamic systems and agent-based models, to the obesity epidemic in the region. In phase 2 of this work, we will complete more detailed measurements in both children and communities.


Schwartz BS, Bailey-Davis L, Bandeen-Roche K, Pollak J, Hirsch AG, Nau C, Liu AY, Glass TA. Attention deficit disorder, stimulant use, and childhood body mass index trajectory. Pediatrics 2014 March 17, Epub ahead of print.

Schwartz BS, Stewart WF, Godby S, Pollak J, DeWalle J, Larson SL, Mercer DG, Glass TA. Body mass index and the built and social environments in children and adolescents using electronic health records. Am J Prev Med 2011; 41: e17-28.

Feng J, Glass TA, Curriero FC, Stewart WF, Schwartz BS. The built environment and obesity: a systematic review of the epidemiologic evidence. Health & Place 2010; 16: 175-90.

Press Coverage of the Schwartz et al 2014 ADHD paper

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Reuters Health
Today Health

physical activity map
Figure 2 from Schwartz, Stewart, Godby, et al. Am J Prev Med, 2011.