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Author: Ewing, Reid
Resulting in 2 citations.
1. Ewing, Reid
Brownson, Ross C.
Berrigan, David
Relationship Between Urban Sprawl and Weight of United States Youth
American Journal of Preventive Medicine 31,6 (December 2006): 464-474.
Also: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17169708
Cohort(s): NLSY97
Publisher: Elsevier
Keyword(s): Body Mass Index (BMI); Environment, Pollution/Urban Density; Geocoded Data; Geographical Variation; Health/Health Status/SF-12 Scale; Modeling; Obesity; Urbanization/Urban Living; Variables, Independent - Covariate; Weight

Background: Among United States youth there is an obesity epidemic with potential life-long health implications. To date, relationships between the built environment and body mass index (BMI) have not been evaluated for youth, and have not been evaluated longitudinally. Objectives: To determine if urban sprawl is associated with BMI for U.S. youth. Methods: Using data from the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY97), both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses were conducted. Hierarchical modeling was used to relate characteristics of individuals, households, and places to BMI. Individual and household data were extracted from the NLSY97. The independent variable of interest was the county sprawl index, which was derived with principal components analyses from census and other data. Results: In a cross-sectional analysis, the likelihood of U.S. adolescents (aged 12–17 years) being overweight or at risk of overweight (≥85th percentile relative to the Centers for Disease Control growth charts) was associated with county sprawl (p=0.022). In another cross-sectional analysis, after controlling for sociodemographic and behavioral covariates, the likelihood of young adults (aged 18–23 years) being obese was also associated with county sprawl (p=0.048). By contrast, in longitudinal analyses, BMI growth curves for individual youth over the 7 years of NLSY97, and BMI changes for individual youth who moved between counties, were not related to county sprawl (although coefficient signs were as expected). Conclusions: Cross-sectional analyses suggest that urban form is associated with being overweight among U.S. youth. The strength of these relationships proved comparable to those previously reported for adults. Longitudinal analyses show no such relationship. It is unclear why these approaches give different results, but sample sizes, latent effects, and confounders may contribute.
Bibliography Citation
Ewing, Reid, Ross C. Brownson and David Berrigan. "Relationship Between Urban Sprawl and Weight of United States Youth." American Journal of Preventive Medicine 31,6 (December 2006): 464-474.
2. Hamidi, Shima
Ewing, Reid
Compact Development and BMI for Young Adults: Environmental Determinism or Self-Selection?
Journal of the American Planning Association published online (31 March 2020): DOI: 10.1080/01944363.2020.1730705.
Also: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01944363.2020.1730705
Cohort(s): NLSY97
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Group
Keyword(s): Body Mass Index (BMI); Geocoded Data; Mobility; Neighborhood Effects; Urbanization/Urban Living

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

Problem, research strategy, and findings: The literature widely reports a statistical association between the built environment and obesity. What is less clear is the reason for the association. Is it environmental determinism--the effect of the built environment on individual behavior--with compact places inducing more physical activity and hence lower weight? Or is it self-selection, the tendency of healthy-weight individuals to select to live in compact places where they can be more physically active and possibly the tendency of overweight or obese individuals to opt for sprawling places? Both theories have been promoted in the literature. In this study we seek to address this issue using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. We study body mass indices (BMIs) of survey participants, all young adults, at two points in time and follow them longitudinally for 9 years as they move from place to place. We estimate models for the entire cohort and also for young adult movers and stayers separately. We find more evidence of self-selection than of environmental determinism. First, we find that compactness is not significantly associated with BMI in young adults for those staying in the same place for the entire period. Second, we find no significant association between changes in sprawl and the changes in BMI for the cohort of young adult movers. Third, our longitudinal analysis shows that young adults who are not overweight tend to move in the direction of greater neighborhood compactness, whereas overweight young adults tend to move in the direction of greater sprawl. Because young adults are at a unique stage in the life cycle, these findings cannot be generalized to other cohorts.
Bibliography Citation
Hamidi, Shima and Reid Ewing. "Compact Development and BMI for Young Adults: Environmental Determinism or Self-Selection?" Journal of the American Planning Association published online (31 March 2020): DOI: 10.1080/01944363.2020.1730705.