Where Weight Waxes and Wanes: Spatial Variation in Adult Body Mass Index

Ken R. Smith, University of Utah
Barbara Brown, University of Utah
Jessie Fan, University of Utah
Cathleen Zick, University of Utah
Miller Harvey, University of Utah

We examine the roles that neighborhood factors (density, pedestrian-friendly design, and diverse land use) are playing in adult body mass index and odds of overweight. Data for this investigation come from a complete drivers license database maintained by the Utah Population Data Base (UPDB). For these analyses, U.S. Census information on neighborhood characteristics measured at the block-group level have been linked to the UPDB using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) databases. This unique linked data set is used to assess the extent to which neighborhood design, population density, and land-use diversity are associated with the propensity to be overweight for an entire urban county population in Utah. Using the resulting sample of nearly 500,000 persons, we find that measures of diversity of land use and pedestrian-friendly design are associated with lower BMI and lower odds of overweight.

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Presented in Poster Session 5