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Program on Global Sustainability and Health

Research on Land Use and Public Health

Human land use and its relationship to human health is part of our conceptual framework. We are investigating links between the built environment, and obesity risk in children and adolescents ages 2 to 18 years in 31 counties in Pennsylvania.

We are using geographic information systems to create metrics of the density, diversity, design, clustering, and accessibility to aspects of the built environment in three domains: land use, the built local food environment, and the built local physical activity environment. This figure depicts the distribution of food retailers in these counties. This spatial distribution is then summarized, for example, as the density of fast food restaurants in neighborhoods, and this in turn is linked to obesity.