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Obesity Environment


Background

Environmental influences on public health have become a major area of investigation with research demonstrating links between the environment and increased prevalence of non-communicable disease. The term ‘obesogenic’ is commonly used to describe environments that hinder physical activity and promote excessive food consumption, thereby making obesity more likely. The environment-obesity relationship is often oversimplified, focussing only on small numbers of environmental attributes such as the availability of food outlets or green spaces, and using simplistic measures such as proximity to amenities.

The underlying mechanisms of an obesogenic environment are likely to be far more complex, with a wide range of factors operating and interacting across different domains (the physical, social, economic and political) that act at micro- and macro-levels. Researchers in this field also face a myriad of methodological choices, which have substantial consequences for the interpretation of outputs. Our research group believes that a better understanding of this complex and methodologically challenging subject area is necessary in order to identify the actual role of the environment in the prevention and treatment of obesity.


Overview

Environmental influences on public health have become a major area of investigation with research demonstrating links between the environment and increased prevalence of non-communicable disease. The term ‘obesogenic’ is commonly used to describe environments that hinder physical activity and promote excessive food consumption, thereby making obesity more likely. Our research group believes that a better understanding of this complex and methodologically challenging subject area is necessary in order to identify the actual role of the environment in the prevention and treatment of obesity.


Plus Icon Current Projects
  • The role of person and place characteristics in predicting weight management programme attendance and effectiveness.
  • Physical activity and the built environment.
  • Validation of two secondary sources of food environment data against street audits in England.
  • Systematic review of methods for investigating links between the retail food environment, diet and obesity.
  • Examining the impact of different methods of measuring the food environment on substantive outcomes.
  • Examining the influence of the food environment around the workplace on diet and obesity.
  • Person-environment relationship and its effect on health-related practices.
  • The contribution of food environment on obesity in England.
Plus Icon Staff and Research Student Profiles
Plus Icon Topics
  • 'Big data'
  • Food environment
  • Geographic Information Systems methods
  • Methodological reporting frameworks
  • Child weight management
  • Adult weight management
  • Physical activity environment
  • Places of interest: workplace, schools, communities
Plus Icon Recent Publications

Wilkins, E., Radley D., Morris, M., Griffiths, C. (2017) Examining the validity and utility of two secondary sources of food environment data against street audits in England. Nutrition Journal. DOI: 10.1186/s12937-017-0302-1

Wilkins, E., Morris, M.A., Radley, D., Griffiths, C. (2016) Using Geographic Information Systems to measure retail food environments: discussion of methodological considerations and a proposed reporting checklist (Geo-FERN). Health and Place, 44, 110 - 117.

Griffiths, C., Wilkins, E., Morris, M. (2016). Is the food environment associated with obesity? Important considerations when looking at the evidence base. Town and Country Planning Association. Special Edition Launch 01st December, London.

Hobbs, M., Griffiths, C., Green M., Jordan, H., McKenna, J., (2016) How different data sources and definitions of neighbourhood influence the association between food outlet availability and body mass index: a cross-sectional study. Perspectives in Public Health. DOI: 10.1177/1757913916650916

James Nobles, Claire Griffiths, Andy Pringle, Paul Gately. (2016) Design Programmes to Maximise Participant Engagement: A Predictive Study of Programme and Participant Characteristics Associated with Engagement in Paediatric Weight Management. International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity 13(76)

Jane Burch, Huiqin Yang, Mark Simmonds, Alexis Llewellyn, Steven Duffy, Nerys Woolacott, Claire Griffiths, Charlotte Wright, Christopher Owen, Jason Halford, Julian Higgins (2015). The use of measures of obesity in childhood for predicting obesity and the development of obesity-related diseases in adulthood; a systematic review and meta-analysis. Health Technology Assessment. 19 (43)

Griffiths, C., Frearson, A., Taylor, A., Gately, P., Radley, D., Cooke, C. B. (2014) A Cross Sectional Study Investigating the association between exposure to food outlet sand childhood obesity in Leeds, UK. International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity. 11: 138 doi: 10.1186/s12966-014-0138-4.

Griffiths, C., Gately, P., Marchant, P. R. & Cooke, C. B. Reply to ‘Area-level deprivation and adiposity in children: is the relationship linear?’. International Journal of Obesity 2014. 31(1) 161-2 doi:10.1038/ijo.2013.66

Griffiths, C., Gately, P., Marchant, P. R. & Cooke, C. B. (2013) Area level deprivation and adiposity in children: is the relationship linear? International Journal of Obesity 37(4) 486 - 492.

Griffiths, C., Gately, P., Marchant, P. R. & Cooke, C. B. (2013) A five year longitudinal study investigating the prevalence of childhood obesity: comparison of BMI and waist circumference. Public Health. 127(12) 1090-6. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2013.09.020.

Griffiths, C., Gately, P., Marchant, P. R. & Cooke, C. B. (2012) Cross-Sectional Comparisons of BMI and Waist Circumference in British Children: Mixed Public Health Messages. Obesity 20, 1258-1260.

Plus Icon Funding

ESRC: Secondary Data Analysis Initiative 2017 (£200k 18-month project). Handling missing data in large linked datasets.

ESRC: Secondary Data Analysis Initiative (2017). £200k (18-month project). CATCH - Investigating the Causal relationships between ATtainment and Childhood Health. Under Review


External Collaborations