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.
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