Researchers at the University of Western Ontario are putting accelerometers and GPSs on kids to capture information on their activity and where it is done. The research relates to childhood obesity. Currently, one out of every three Canadian children is overweight or obese. The study is using a geographic information system (GIS) to analyze how communities are designed in terms of potential barriers and enablers for physical activity and healthy food consumption. The overall objective of the study is to assess how built environments impact physical activity and eating behaviors, by determining differences among children from contrasting environments in urban areas, suburban neighborhoods, and rural regions.
“Our work is based on the idea that where you live matters. We’ve all heard the saying ‘You are what you eat’, but it’s also true that you are where you live,” says Jason Gilliland, Urban Development Program director in Western’s Department of Geography.
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Sachiye Day, VERTICES intern. firstname.lastname@example.org