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Special Issue "Built Environments, Food Environments, and Public Health"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 November 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Rebecca A. Seguin

Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, 412 Savage Hall, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 6072558250
Interests: theory-informed, community-based nutrition and physical activity interventions and dissemination research for chronic disease prevention (e.g., cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes), focusing on women, older adults, low-income families, and rural and other underserved populations; health disparities and health equity; food and physical activity environment factors related to behavior change and maintenance; and community capacity building for health promotion
Guest Editor
Mr. Brian K. Lo

Affiliation: Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, 417 Savage Hall, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
E-Mail
Interests: determinants of healthy eating and physical activity; diet and physical activity measurements; the behavioral epidemiology of weight control; planning and evaluation of health promotion and public health interventions; and community-engaged research

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are organizing a Special Issue on “Built Environments, Food Environments, and Public Health” in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The venue is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that publishes articles and communications in the interdisciplinary area of environmental health sciences and public health. For detailed information on the journal, we refer you to https://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph.

Over the past decade, there has been growing interest in understanding the role of built environments, food environments, and their related health behaviors and outcomes such as physical activity and diet quality. Improved understanding of these contextual factors is key to identifying innovative policies and programs to promote active living and healthy eating. However, more research is needed to advance the field. First, although both physical activity and food environments have become the target of many interventions and much research, there is a lack of sensitive and specific tools to assess environmental changes, limiting the ability to demonstrate the mediating role of an enhanced environment contributing to the changes in the health outcomes of interest. Second, much of the evidence supporting policy and environmental strategies to encourage healthy living comes from research in urban settings. There is an urgent need to better understand this topic among other underserved populations such as rural and military populations and others. Third, more longitudinal designs and analyses are need to discern causality in the relationship between built environments and health behaviors and outcomes.

In this Special Issue of the journal, we aim to feature articles that highlight: 1) innovative approaches in measuring the built environments, particularly tools shown to be sensitive to change/intervention; 2) findings from underserved populations, broadly defined; and 3) outcomes of cohort and intervention studies that are related to built environments, food environments, and health behaviors and outcomes. Collectively, these articles will advance knowledge that aim to advance measurement tools and methodologies, inform policy, and build a strong evidence base on the effectiveness of built environment interventions.

Dr. Rebecca A. Seguin
Mr. Brian K. Lo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access bimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sedentary behavior
  • physical activity
  • diet
  • interventions
  • health promotion
  • measurement
  • public health
  • built environment
  • food environment
  • underserved populations

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Improving Physical Activity among Residents of Affordable Housing: Is Active Design Enough?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(1), 151; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16010151
Received: 23 October 2018 / Revised: 22 December 2018 / Accepted: 3 January 2019 / Published: 8 January 2019
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Abstract
Physical inactivity increases risk of chronic disease. Few studies examine how built environment interventions increase physical activity (PA). Active design (AD) utilizes strategies in affordable housing to improve resident health. We assessed how AD housing affects PA among low-income families in Brooklyn, New
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Physical inactivity increases risk of chronic disease. Few studies examine how built environment interventions increase physical activity (PA). Active design (AD) utilizes strategies in affordable housing to improve resident health. We assessed how AD housing affects PA among low-income families in Brooklyn, New York. Participants were recruited at lease signings in 2016 from a new AD apartment complex and two recently renovated comparison buildings without AD features. Eligibility included age ≥18 years with no contraindications to exercise. Anthropometric data were collected. PA was self-reported using the Recent and Global Physical Activity Questionnaires. Smartphone users shared their tracked step. Data collection was repeated one year after move-in. All data were analyzed using SPSS. Eighty-eight eligible participants completed the initial questionnaire (36 AD and 52 from 2 comparison buildings) at baseline (T0). There were no differences between AD and comparison cohorts in: stair use, PA, sitting time or, mean waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) at T0. However, the AD cohort had a lower baseline BMI (27.6 vs. 31.0, p = 0.019). At one-year follow-up (T1), 75 participants completed our survey including a 64% retention rate among those who previously completed the T0 questionnaire. Among T0 questionnaire respondents, mean daily steps increased at T1 among AD participants who moved from an elevator building (∆6782, p = 0.051) and in the comparison group (∆2960, p = 0.023). Aggregate moderate work-related activity was higher at T1 in the AD building (746 vs. 401, p = 0.031). AD building women reported more work-related PA overall but AD men engaged in more moderate recreational PA. Living in an AD building can enhance low-income residents’ PA. More research with objective measures is needed to identify strategies to sustain higher PA levels and overall health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Built Environments, Food Environments, and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle The Impact of a City-Level Minimum Wage Policy on Supermarket Food Prices by Food Quality Metrics: A Two-Year Follow Up Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(1), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16010102
Received: 13 November 2018 / Revised: 12 December 2018 / Accepted: 24 December 2018 / Published: 1 January 2019
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Abstract
Objective: To examine the effects of increasing minimum wage on supermarket food prices in Seattle over 2 years of policy implementation, overall and differentially across food quality metrics. Methods: Prices for the UW Center for Public Health Nutrition (CPHN) market basket of
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Objective: To examine the effects of increasing minimum wage on supermarket food prices in Seattle over 2 years of policy implementation, overall and differentially across food quality metrics. Methods: Prices for the UW Center for Public Health Nutrition (CPHN) market basket of 106 foods were obtained for 6 large supermarket chain stores in Seattle (“intervention”) and for the same chain stores in King County (“control”) at four time points: 1-month pre- (March 2015), 1-month post- (May 2015), 1-year post- (May 2016), and 2-years post-policy implementation (May 2017). Prices for all food items were standardized and converted to price per 100 kcal. Food quality metrics were used to explore potential differential price increases by (a) food groups, as defined by US Department of Agriculture; (b) NOVA food processing categories, and (c) nutrient density quartiles, based on the Nutrient Rich Foods Index 9.3. Separate difference-in-differences linear regression models with robust standard errors, examined price differences per 100 kcal overall, clustered by store chain, and stratified by each food quality metric. Results: There were no overall market basket price changes attributable to Seattle’s minimum wage policy. Moreover, no minimum wage effect was detected by USDA food group, food processing, or nutrient density categories. Conclusions: Local area supermarket food prices were not impacted by Seattle’s minimum wage policy 2 years into policy implementation and after the first increase to $15/h overall or by sub-classification. Low-income workers may be able to afford higher quality diets if wages increase yet supermarket prices stay the same. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Built Environments, Food Environments, and Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle B’more Healthy Corner Stores for Moms and Kids: Identifying Optimal Behavioral Economic Strategies to Increase WIC Redemptions in Small Urban Corner Stores
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(1), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16010064
Received: 15 November 2018 / Revised: 9 December 2018 / Accepted: 20 December 2018 / Published: 27 December 2018
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Abstract
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) redemption rates have been declining in many low-income urban settings, potentially related to aspects of the food environment. B’more Healthy Corner Stores for Moms and Kids was a feasibility trial in Baltimore City
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Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) redemption rates have been declining in many low-income urban settings, potentially related to aspects of the food environment. B’more Healthy Corner Stores for Moms and Kids was a feasibility trial in Baltimore City that aimed to test multiple behavioral economic (BE) strategies in 10 corner stores (intervention = eight stores, comparison = two stores), to evaluate their influence on the stocking and redemptions of WIC foods. Tested strategies included in-person storeowner training, point of purchase promotion, product placement, and grouping of products in a display. All four strategies were feasible and implemented with high reach, dose delivered, and fidelity. Additionally, text messaging was found to be an acceptable form of intervention reinforcement for storeowners. Analyses to assess change in stocking of WIC foods, total sales of WIC foods, and sales of WIC foods to WIC clients, revealed consistent positive changes after implementation of the store owner training strategy, while changes after the implementation of other strategies were mixed. Furthermore, WIC food sales to WIC clients significantly increased after the simultaneous implementation of two strategies, compared to one (p > 0.05). Results suggest that store owner training was the most influential strategy and that the implementation of more BE strategies does not necessarily lead to proportional increases in stocking and sales. Selected BE strategies appear to be an effective way of increasing stocking and sales of WIC foods in small urban food stores. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Built Environments, Food Environments, and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Challenges and Lessons Learned from Multi-Level Multi-Component Interventions to Prevent and Reduce Childhood Obesity
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(1), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16010030
Received: 9 November 2018 / Revised: 10 December 2018 / Accepted: 20 December 2018 / Published: 24 December 2018
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Abstract
Multi-level multi-component (MLMC) strategies have been recommended to prevent and reduce childhood obesity, but results of such trials have been mixed. The present work discusses lessons learned from three recently completed MLMC interventions to inform future research and policy addressing childhood obesity. B’more
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Multi-level multi-component (MLMC) strategies have been recommended to prevent and reduce childhood obesity, but results of such trials have been mixed. The present work discusses lessons learned from three recently completed MLMC interventions to inform future research and policy addressing childhood obesity. B’more Healthy Communities for Kids (BHCK), Children’s Healthy Living (CHL), and Health and Local Community (SoL) trials had distinct cultural contexts, global regions, and study designs, but intervened at multiple levels of the socioecological model with strategies that address multiple components of complex food and physical activity environments to prevent childhood obesity. We discuss four common themes: (i) How to engage with community partners and involve them in development of intervention and study design; (ii) build and maintain intervention intensity by creating mutual promotion and reinforcement of the intervention activities across the multiple levels and components; (iii) conduct process evaluation for monitoring, midcourse corrections, and to engage stakeholder groups; and (iv) sustaining MLMC interventions and its effect by developing enduring and systems focused collaborations. The paper expands on each of these themes with specific lessons learned and presents future directions for MLMC trials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Built Environments, Food Environments, and Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle Healthy Food Options at Dollar Discount Stores Are Equivalent in Quality and Lower in Price Compared to Grocery Stores: An Examination in Las Vegas, NV
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(12), 2773; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15122773
Received: 3 November 2018 / Revised: 22 November 2018 / Accepted: 4 December 2018 / Published: 7 December 2018
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Abstract
Food deserts indicate limited access to and affordability of healthy foods. One potential mediator is the availability of healthy food in non-traditional outlets such as dollar-discount stores, stores selling produce at the fixed $1 price. The purpose of this study was to compare
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Food deserts indicate limited access to and affordability of healthy foods. One potential mediator is the availability of healthy food in non-traditional outlets such as dollar-discount stores, stores selling produce at the fixed $1 price. The purpose of this study was to compare availability, quality, price differences in ‘healthier’ versus ‘regular’ food choices, price per each food item, and summary score in dollar-discount stores to grocery stores in Las Vegas using the NEMS-S; a protocol consisting of three subscores—availability, quality, price of healthier versus regular food, and a summary score. A 25% sample of grocery stores (n = 40) and all dollar-discount stores (n = 14) were evaluated. t-tests showed that dollar-discount stores were less likely to price healthy options lower than their unhealthy alternatives (mean (M) = 1.0 vs. M = 2.5; p < 0.001) and had reduced availability (M = 20.50 vs. M = 23.80; p < 0.001) compared to grocery stores. The quality of produce did not differ (M = 5.93 vs. M = 6.00; p = 0.34). Price comparisons revealed that 84.2% of produce and 89.5% of other food items were significantly less expensive at the dollar-discount stores, with only two items being more expensive. While dollar-discount stores did have lower availability, they provided quality fresh and healthy foods which were usually less expensive. Findings indicate that dollar discount stores may be an existing community asset, and considering them as such may aid in efforts to strengthen the overall food system. Practitioners should consider dollar discount stores when assessing the community food environment and designing and implementing outreach programs, as they may bridge some disparities in access. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Built Environments, Food Environments, and Public Health)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle One-Year Follow-Up Examination of the Impact of the North Carolina Healthy Food Small Retailer Program on Healthy Food Availability, Purchases, and Consumption
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(12), 2681; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15122681
Received: 11 October 2018 / Revised: 17 November 2018 / Accepted: 26 November 2018 / Published: 28 November 2018
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Abstract
We examined the short-term impact of the North Carolina Healthy Food Small Retailer Program (HFSRP), a legislatively appropriated bill providing funding up to $25,000 to small food retailers for equipment to stock and promote healthier foods, on store-level availability and purchase of healthy
[...] Read more.
We examined the short-term impact of the North Carolina Healthy Food Small Retailer Program (HFSRP), a legislatively appropriated bill providing funding up to $25,000 to small food retailers for equipment to stock and promote healthier foods, on store-level availability and purchase of healthy foods and beverages, as well as customer dietary patterns, one year post-policy implementation. We evaluated healthy food availability using a validated audit tool, purchases using customer bag-checks, and diet using self-reported questionnaires and skin carotenoid levels, assessed via Veggie Meter™, a non-invasive tool to objectively measure fruit and vegetable consumption. Difference-in-difference analyses were used to examine changes in HFSRP stores versus control stores after 1 year. There were statistically significant improvements in healthy food supply scores (availability), with the Healthy Food Supply HFS score being −0.44 points lower in control stores and 3.13 points higher in HFSRP stores pre/post HFSRP (p = 0.04). However, there were no statistically significant changes in purchases or self-reported consumption or skin carotenoids among customers in HFSRP versus control stores. Additional time or other supports for retailers (e.g., marketing and promotional materials) may be needed for HFSRP implementation to influence purchase and consumption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Built Environments, Food Environments, and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Physical Activity and Fundamental Motor Skill Performance of 5–10 Year Old Children in Three Different Playgrounds
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(9), 1896; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15091896
Received: 22 June 2018 / Revised: 22 August 2018 / Accepted: 28 August 2018 / Published: 31 August 2018
PDF Full-text (321 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Playgrounds provide opportunities for children to engage in physical activity and develop their fundamental motor skills. The aim of this descriptive pilot study was to examine whether playground design facilitated different levels of physical activity and fundamental motor skills. Children aged 5 to
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Playgrounds provide opportunities for children to engage in physical activity and develop their fundamental motor skills. The aim of this descriptive pilot study was to examine whether playground design facilitated different levels of physical activity and fundamental motor skills. Children aged 5 to 10 (n = 57) were recruited from three independent playgrounds located in Melbourne (Australia). Whilst playing, children wore accelerometers which measured time spent in physical activity and direct observations recorded fundamental motor skills and play equipment use. A general linear model with playground type as the predictor and adjusting for monitor wear-time identified whether mean time in physical activity was different for the three playgrounds. Frequencies and a one-way ANOVA assessed whether the observed mean number of fundamental motor skills varied between playgrounds. On average, 38.1% of time (12.0 min) was spent in moderate- vigorous-intensity physical activity. Children in the traditional playground (n = 16) engaged in more moderate-intensity physical activity (9.4 min) than children in the adventure playground (n = 21), (5.6 min) (p = 0.027). There were no significant associations with vigorous-intensity physical activity or fundamental motor skills between playgrounds. Children performed few fundamental motor skills but used a wider variety of equipment in the contemporary and adventure playgrounds. Playgrounds need to maximise opportunities for children to engage in physical activity and develop fundamental motor skills. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Built Environments, Food Environments, and Public Health)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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