, Volume 81, Issue 2, pp 211–229 | Cite as

Explaining variations in obesity and inactivity between US metropolitan areas



This paper discusses measurement of the main dimensions of the urban environment that have been proposed as relevant to explaining geographic variations in obesity and inactivity. It considers urban sprawl, food access and exercise access as latent constructs, defined by sets of observed indicators for areas. In an application to 993 US metropolitan counties, the paper shows how these latent constructs may be incorporated in an ecological (area-scale) model, which recognizes spatial aspects in the patterning of both outcomes and environmental factors. Urban sprawl and area socioeconomic status emerge from regression modelling as leading influences on obesity and inactivity.


Obesity Inactivity Sprawl Food access Income Spatial correlation 



The author acknowledges comments on an earlier draft by Stephanie Jilcott Pitts.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Queen Mary University of LondonLondonUK

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