Research theme Focus
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.