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Open AccessArticle

The Relationships between Adolescents’ Obesity and the Built Environment: Are They City Dependent?

1
School of Public Health, University of Haifa, Haifa 3498838, Israel
2
Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, Technion- Israeli Institute of Technology, Haifa 3200003, Israel
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(9), 1579; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16091579
Received: 27 March 2019 / Revised: 25 April 2019 / Accepted: 26 April 2019 / Published: 6 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
There is evidence that the built environment can promote unhealthy habits which may increase the risk for obesity among adolescents. However, the majority of evidence is from North America, Europe and Australia, and less is known about other world regions. The purpose of this study was to examine how the number of overweight and obese adolescents may vary in relation to the built environment, area socioeconomic status (SES), physical activity (PA) and nutritional home environment. We performed a telephone survey of 904 adolescents ages 15–18 from three different cities in Israel. The questionnaire included: reported PA, sedentary behaviors and nutritional home environment. Body Mass Index (BMI) was attained from records of Maccabi Healthcare Services (MHS). The built environment measures were calculated by Geographic Information System (GIS). Multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed to identify variables associated with adolescents’ overweight and obesity. The highest level of overweight and obese adolescents was in Beer Sheva (29.2%). The three cities did not differ in built environment characteristics, PA and sedentary behaviors. In Haifa, a more positive nutritional home environment was reported (p = 0.001). Boys, in all three cities presented higher rates of overweight and obesity (29%). After adjusting for covariates, adolescents’ overweight and obesity was associated with built environment measures only in a low SES peripheral city (OR = 0.72; 95% CI: 0.56–0.92), and positively associated with higher level of sedentary behavior in the total sample (OR = 1.23; 95% CI:1.03–1.47). This may imply a much more complex causal pathway between the built environment, SES and obesity than suggested in previous literature. View Full-Text
Keywords: walkability; adolescents’ obesity; built environment; physical activity; nutritional environment; sedentary behaviors walkability; adolescents’ obesity; built environment; physical activity; nutritional environment; sedentary behaviors
MDPI and ACS Style

HaGani, N.; Moran, M.R.; Caspi, O.; Plaut, P.; Endevelt, R.; Baron-Epel, O. The Relationships between Adolescents’ Obesity and the Built Environment: Are They City Dependent? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 1579.

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