Investigating associations between body mass index and streetscape physical environment in Cleveland, Ohio

Authors: Xiaojiang Li*, MIT, Debarchana Ghosh, Department of Geography, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, USA
Topics: Geography and Urban Health, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Spatial Analysis & Modeling
Keywords: Walkability, street greenery, Google Street View
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Bonaparte, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Abstract: Public health researchers are increasingly interested in assessing the impact of neighborhood environment on proximity to physical activities and related chronic health issues. Walkable streets, proximity to green space, and greener environment, in general, have long been believed to promote an active lifestyle for urban residents, which is further associated with positive health outcomes. Traditionally, urban environmental metrics were calculated at an areal level (e.g. pixels, buffers of varying shape or US census block groups) to indicate the physical environment of neighborhoods. However, considering that streets are the basic unit on which we conduct physical activities, it is therefore important to understand how the streetscapes environment can influence human health outcomes. In this study, we investigated the association between streetscape environment and the body mass index (BMI) in Cleveland, Ohio. We used two indices to describe streetscapes: Green View Index (GVI) and Walkscore. The GVI was calculated from Google Street View images to estimate the spread and distribution of urban greenery. The Walkscore was used to represent the walkability of neighborhoods. Statistical analyses show that the GVI and Walkscore have different associations with overall BMI and BMI among different age-gender groups in Cleveland, Ohio. The results of this study would provide evidence based information for designing walkable and healthy cities. The study would further contribute to the theory and application of geospatial technologies in health research.

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