Obesity is a global pandemic that brings about a myriad of health consequences. In the past, policies for combating obesity mainly focused on improving individual health and behavior, but nowadays some policies have changed and now concentrate on improving the built environment believing this can improve health through positive changes to health-related behaviors. We examined whether both individual and environmental factors were associated with body mass index in Seoul, the capital city of South Korea. Data from the 2011 and 2013 Community Health Surveys were used (n
= 20,147 men and 25,300 women). We staged multilevel logistic regression models to estimate the effect of individual and environmental factors on obesity. Among individual covariates, high-risk drinking, the time spent watching TV and surfing the Internet, high salt intake, stress, and the negative recognition of health were significantly associated with obesity. When controlling individual covariates, the number of sports facilities, number of fried chicken stores, and food insecurity level were statistically associated with probability of obesity. Therefore, this study emphasizes that it is important not only to improve the health behavior of the individual, but also to improve the urban environment in order to reduce the obesity rates of city dwellers.
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