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Your Environment. Your Health.

Obesity & the Built Environment

Improving Public Health Through Community Design


This conference will provide a forum to discuss and illustrate how different elements of the built environment contribute to obesity via access to food and physical activity, and how environmental health research and interventions can address this public health problem.

The built environment encompasses all of the buildings, spaces, and products created or modified by people. For example: buildings (housing, schools, workplaces); land use (industrial or residential); public resources (parks, museums); zoning regulations; transportation systems.



  • Develop research and practice agendas to examine the relationship between the built environment and obesity.
  • Enhance interagency coordination.
  • Inform elected officials
  • Partner researchers, planners, health care providers, developers, policy makers, and community and business leaders.
  • Highlight evidence-based strategies for intervention.


Cross-Cutting Themes

Consider built environment-obesity links at different levels and settings:

  • Families and communities (urban/suburban/rural residences)
  • Schools (children)
  • Work sites


Organizing Questions

  • Design: How do we develop, implement, and evaluate more walkable communities?
  • Policy: How do we create and assess incentives to encourage needed community and/or individual changes?
  • Communication/Education: How do we motivate more physical activity and determine its effectiveness?


Who Should Attend?

  • Academicians from schools of public health, architecture, planning, medicine, and nursing.
  • Representatives of environment, health, planning, and transportation agencies of federal, state, and local governments.
  • Advocacy and public health professional organizations and associations.
  • Community and business leaders.
  • Policy makers, urban planners, communication specialists, health educators, physicians, nurses, and public health practitioners.

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