We are evaluating the relation of the food, land use, media, physical activity, and social environments, measured as features of communities, with body mass index by studying more than 260,000 children with a Geisinger primary care provider. Our first study on this was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine last year. 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, 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.
Figure 2 from Schwartz, Stewart, Godby, et al. Am J Prev Med, 2011.