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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(2), 308; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15020308

The Uncertain Geographic Context Problem in the Analysis of the Relationships between Obesity and the Built Environment in Guangzhou

1
Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China
2
Department of Geography and Geographic Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Natural History Building, MC-150, 1301 W Green Street, Urbana, IL 61801, USA
3
Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80125, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands
4
School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
5
Guangdong Key Laboratory for Urbanization and Geo-simulation, Guangzhou 510275, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 December 2017 / Revised: 3 February 2018 / Accepted: 5 February 2018 / Published: 10 February 2018
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Abstract

Traditionally, static units of analysis such as administrative units are used when studying obesity. However, using these fixed contextual units ignores environmental influences experienced by individuals in areas beyond their residential neighborhood and may render the results unreliable. This problem has been articulated as the uncertain geographic context problem (UGCoP). This study investigates the UGCoP through exploring the relationships between the built environment and obesity based on individuals’ activity space. First, a survey was conducted to collect individuals’ daily activity and weight information in Guangzhou in January 2016. Then, the data were used to calculate and compare the values of several built environment variables based on seven activity space delineations, including home buffers, workplace buffers (WPB), fitness place buffers (FPB), the standard deviational ellipse at two standard deviations (SDE2), the weighted standard deviational ellipse at two standard deviations (WSDE2), the minimum convex polygon (MCP), and road network buffers (RNB). Lastly, we conducted comparative analysis and regression analysis based on different activity space measures. The results indicate that significant differences exist between variables obtained with different activity space delineations. Further, regression analyses show that the activity space delineations used in the analysis have a significant influence on the results concerning the relationships between the built environment and obesity. The study sheds light on the UGCoP in analyzing the relationships between obesity and the built environment. View Full-Text
Keywords: obesity; built environment; activity space; regression analysis; UGCoP obesity; built environment; activity space; regression analysis; UGCoP
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Zhao, P.; Kwan, M.-P.; Zhou, S. The Uncertain Geographic Context Problem in the Analysis of the Relationships between Obesity and the Built Environment in Guangzhou. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 308.

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