Do local employment centers modify the association between neighborhood urban form and individual obesity?

YongJin Ahn, JiYoung Park, Tim A Bruckner, Simon Choi
  • Environment and Planning A Economy and Space, March 2018, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/0308518x18765478

Importance of local employment centers in measuring individual obesity

What is it about?

Local employment centers may affect obesity via providing agglomeration benefits such as increased job/transportation opportunities and closer proximity to local facilities/destinations. Using a large serial cross-sectional health survey from Los Angeles, California, this study examined whether the presence of local employment centers modifies the association between land use patterns and individual body mass index.

Why is it important?

Most findings are consistent with previous studies. However, some of land use factors hypothesized to reduce the risk of obesity could have counterintuitive associations unless local employment centers were controlled. The unexpected results of our land use coefficients indicate that the tenet of New Urbanism may not necessarily promote health benefits. The findings suggest that modifying the built environment may be effective in reducing obesity only in areas with high degree of local employment centers.


Jiyoung Park (Author)
University at Buffalo Health Sciences Library

Several new findings on the relationship between urban environments and obesity can provide a new discussion on the current literature. Especially, this study contributes to the direction of future studies that would benefit from longitudinal and experimental, rather than cross-sectional, and hence, study designs that rigorously test the potential causal role of New Urbanism on obesity should be addressed.

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The following have contributed to this page: Jiyoung Park