259198 Geographic information systems (GIS): A tool to inform place based obesity prevention in schools

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 1:30 PM - 1:50 PM

Gehry Oatey, MPH , School of Public Health, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
PURPOSE: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) allow scientists to identify spatial relationships within the built environment variables and individual health and inform interventions at specific locations. The purpose of this study is to model the use of GIS in determining the spatial relationship between the built environment and Body Mass Index among children attending public schools in California. This study is intended to promote the further use of GIS as a tool to analyze spatial relationships between the built environment and schools, and to inform place-based childhood obesity prevention interventions. METHOD: Using data sources from The California Physical Fitness Test scores, The Oakland Planning Department , and the Oakland Police Department. This study used GIS spatial cluster analysis to determine the spatial relationship between the built environment and Body Mass Index across schools in Oakland, California. Built environment variables include proximity to fast food, to roads with a speed limit > 55 mph, to parks, to industrial zones, as well as the prevalence of crime near schools. Academic Performance Indicator (API) Scores were analyzed to identify any relationships between school performance and BMI data. RESULTS: Elementary and Middle schools that scored poorly on the California API had higher BMI levels. Preliminary results indicate that schools with low API were also more likely to be located in areas characterized by higher crime, reduced walkability, increased access to fast food, closer proximity to heavy industry and less access to open space. CONCLUSIONS: As public education continues to face impending budget cuts, the use of GIS in essential in analyzing the spatial relationship between Obesity and the built environment. As public schools are heavily scrutinized in their spending, there needs to be imbedded methods for stakeholders and administrators to utilize GIS to identify which built environments are most appropriate for public schools.

Learning Areas:
Biostatistics, economics
Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate the use of Geographic Information Systems(GIS) as a tool for mitigating the relationship between the built environment and adolescent Obesity. Describe methods for analyzing built environment data in relationship to Obesity Indicators. Discuss the importance of using GIS as a tool for public education stakeholders and public health professionals.

Keywords: Geographic Information Systems, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal of multiple state and local grants focusing on Obesity prevention. I also have my MPH from San Francisco State University and have been involved in the development of strategies and programming for school health promotion and Obesity Prevention.
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.