Human Environments Avalysis Laboratory

HEAL News

Jason Gilliland has a heart-to-heart for children's health

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Professor Jason Gilliland has conducted interdisciplinary research on how the physical environment influences children's healthand well-being. The collaborative work of Dr Gilliland and colleagues from the Lawson Health Research Institute and Children’sHealth Research Institute (CHRI) was recently the focus of an article in the London Health Sciences Centre’s (LHSC) Inside magazine. A researcher at Lawson and CHRI, Dr. Gilliland has been mapping patients with congenital heart defects to see where they come from. “Children are a population who are particularly influenced by the characteristics of their immediate, local environment,” he says. “Many times the location of these clusters (where the incident rate of heart defects is greater than expected) is not random, and we can ask ourselves is there something about the social and physical environment that is influencing this outcome?” Dr. Gilliland’s new research suggests that the physical environments in which children live, play, shop, work, and go to school, may have an important influence on their heart health. With obesity, for example, certain aspects of cities make it hard or easy for kids to be physically active and eat healthy foods. “We want cities to be planned with children’s well-being in mind,” says Dr. Gilliland. London Health Services Center - Inside