245028 Demonstrating the value of GIS in childhood obesity prevention

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 9:10 AM

Ruth Steiner, PhD , Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Ilir Bejleri, PhD , Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Jeffrey Harman, PhD , College of Public Health and Health Professions, Department of Health Services Research, Management, and Policy, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Jennifer Cannon, MURP , Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Juna Papajorgji, ADJ lecturer, MURP , Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Russell Watkins, PhD , Geoplan Center, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Jeff Roth, PhD , Director of the Maternal Child Health and Education Research and Data Center (MCHERDC), University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Nancy Hardt, MD , College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Anne Mathews, PhD, RD, LDN , Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
As the childhood obesity epidemic escalates, impacted communities with limited resources are uncertain of how best to respond. A novel way to inform childhood obesity prevention policy and intervention is to create a community place-based analysis system that allows for the analysis of obesity prevalence in comparison to variables associated with the energy balance of individuals such as diet, physical activity levels, and socioeconomic status. Currently underutilized in obesity prevention, GIS is ideal for broad-level analysis since it offers advantages related to the layering of different variables (such as food environment compared to active living context), spatial pattern visualization, and data documentation and storage. GIS can help target resources by highlighting communities with health disparities, food poverty, and few safe places where children can play. Additionally, layering multiple variables will allow policymakers to better understand complex environmental circumstances that may be contributing to obesity and design multifaceted interventions that address multiple contributors. This presentation highlights the outcomes from the prototype development of Healthy Kids GIS, a system offering online interactive mapping and a geospatial library for users of varied skill levels. Hundreds of geospatial datasets representative of broad obesity measures from public and private sources were collected, standardized, and organized to build a comprehensive geospatial database. Prototypes at the national, state and local levels were employed in partnership with pilot communities to elicit feedback and explore data resources and tool functionality. The challenges with building Healthy Kids GIS and the strategy used to produce a multi-dimensional GIS will be discussed.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the framework guiding data collection and which measures could be operationalized into GIS. 2. Demonstrate how place-based analysis and GIS data resources can offer advantages for prevention efforts. 3. Discuss the challenges associated with creating an effective, childhood obesity GIS.

Keywords: Child Health, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am an Associate Professor at the University of Florida and have over ten years of experience in conducting research in the areas of GIS and Health and the Built Environment. In addition, I am assistant director of the Geoplan Center at the University of Florida.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.