How the Built Environment Contributes to the Adolescent Obesity Epidemic: A Multifaceted Approach

Amy L. Lanza, Jamie Pope, Brian Mayrsohn


The public health status of the United States is in a critical state. Rates of overweight and obese children are on the rise in nearly every community in the nation, and obesity is quickly becoming a global problem as well. While there are many biological, cultural, and psychological factors that play into the rising rates, social factors as a cause of decreasing health are often overlooked. The “built environment,” or each community’s living, working, and eating spaces, plays a large role in determining the actions taken by individuals in a community. In this study, the built environments of two socioeconomically different neighborhoods in Nashville, Tennessee, are analyzed. The resulting data is compared to Tennessee state health census reports to posit that a decreased quality of food and physical activity related built environments parallels a rise in chronic health problems.


Nutrition; Physical Activity; Disease

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