built environment

Cross-Sectional Study of Location-Based Built Environments, Physical Activity, Dietary Intake, and Body Mass Index in Adult Twins

We examined relationships between walkability and health behaviors between and within identical twin pairs, considering both home (neighborhood) walkability and each twin’s measured activity space. Continuous activity and location data (via accelerometry and GPS) were obtained in 79 pairs over 2 weeks. Walkability was estimated using Walk Score® (WS); home WS refers to neighborhood walkability, and […]

Cross-sectional associations between neighbourhood walkability and objective physical activity levels in identical twins

Objectives: Physical activity is a cornerstone of chronic disease prevention and treatment, yet most US adults do not perform levels recommended for health. The neighborhood–built environment (BE) may support or hinder physical activity levels. This study investigated whether identical twins who reside in more walkable BEs have greater activity levels than twins who reside in […]

Measuring and modelling perceptions of the built environment for epidemiological research using crowd-sourcing and image-based deep learning models

Background: Perceptions of the built environment, such as nature quality, beauty, relaxation, and safety, may be key factors linking the built environment to human health. However, few studies have examined these types of perceptions due to the difficulty in quantifying them objectively in large populations. Objective: To measure and predict perceptions of the built environment […]

Bring Your Own Location Data: Use of Google Smartphone Location History Data for Environmental Health Research

Background: Environmental exposures are commonly estimated using spatial methods, with most epidemiological studies relying on home addresses. Passively collected smartphone location data, like Google Location History (GLH) data, may present an opportunity to integrate existing long-term time-activity data. Objectives: We aimed to evaluate the potential use of GLH data for capturing long-term retrospective time-activity data […]

GPS-based built environment measures associated with adult physical activity

Studies often rely on home locations to access built environment (BE) influences on physical activity (PA). We use GPS and accelerometer data collected for 288 individuals over a two-week period to examine eight GPS-derived BE characteristics and moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) and light-to-moderate-vigorous PA (LMVPA). NDVI, parks, blue space, pedestrian-orientated intersections, and population density were associated […]

Measurement of neighborhood-based physical activity bouts

This study examined how buffer type (shape), size, and the allocation of activity bouts inside buffers that delineate the neighborhood spatially produce different estimates of neighborhood-based physical activity. A sample of 375 adults wore a global positioning system (GPS) data logger and accelerometer over 2 weeks under free-living conditions. Analytically, the amount of neighborhood physical […]

Cohort Profile: TWINS study of environment, lifestyle behaviours and health

Duncan GE, Avery A, Hurvitz PM, Moudon AV, Tsang S, Turkheimer E. The role of built and social environments in supporting healthy lifestyles has received increased attention over the past decade, as research and prevention paradigms have shifted from a focus on individual-level behaviour change to macro-level influences embedded within social-ecological models of health that […]

Probabilistic walking models using built environment and sociodemographic predictors

Background: Individual sociodemographic and home neighborhood built environment (BE) factors influence the probability of engaging in health-enhancing levels of walking or moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Methods are needed to parsimoniously model the associations. Methods: Participants included 2392 adults drawn from a community-based twin registry living in the Seattle region. Objective BE measures from four domains […]

Using Smart City Technology to Make Healthcare Smarter

Smart cities use information and communication technologies (ICT) to scale services include utilities and transportation to a growing population. In this article we discuss how smart city ICT can also improve healthcare effectiveness and lower healthcare cost for smart city residents. We survey current literature and introduce original research to offer an overview of how […]

Cross Sectional Association between Spatially Measured Walking Bouts and Neighborhood Walkability

Walking is the most popular choice of aerobic physical activity to improve health among U.S. adults. Physical characteristics of the home neighborhood can facilitate or hinder walking. The purpose of this study was to quantify neighborhood walking, using objective methods and to examine the association between counts of walking bouts in the home neighborhood and […]

Stepping towards causation in studies of neighborhood and environmental effects: How twin research can overcome problems of selection and reverse causation

No causal evidence is available to translate associations between neighborhood characteristics and health outcomes into beneficial changes to built environments. Observed associations may be causal or result from uncontrolled confounds related to family upbringing. Twin designs can help neighborhood effects studies overcome selection and reverse causation problems in specifying causal mechanisms. Beyond quantifying genetic effects […]

Emerging technologies for assessing physical activity behaviors in space and time

Precise measurement of physical activity is important for health research, providing a better understanding of activity location, type, duration, and intensity. This article describes a novel suite of tools to measure and analyze physical activity behaviors in spatial epidemiology research. We use individual-level, high-resolution, objective data collected in a space-time framework to investigate built and […]