New Study: Relationships Between Measures of the Physical Activity-Related Built Environment and Excess Weight in Preschoolers: A Retrospective, Population-Level Cohort Study

Excess weight among preschoolers is a growing issue for population health, with increasing rates of obesity among 4- to 6-year-olds over the past decades. The declining quality of the built environment for supporting physical activity is assumed to be a major driver of the increase in rates of excess weight for this age group, alongside changing diets. Alexander ‘AJ’ Wray, doctoral candidate, and Dr. Jason Gilliland collaborated with a team of scientists from the University of Alberta to investigate built environment correlates of excess weight in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta. From an analysis of 140,368 children, the study team found rates of excess weight increased by 1% for very 100 more intersections in the child’s neighbourhood, and by 14% when there were more playgrounds (not less!) around the home. The rates of excess weight decreased as the number of major parks increased in the local neighbourhood. There were substantial differences in rates of excess weight between Calgary and Edmonton children, which the research team hypothesized could be due to perceived safety issues surrounding the pedestrian environment in older, theoretically more walkable neighbourhoods in Calgary. The study was published in Childhood Obesity, which can be found here [https://doi.org/10.1089/chi.2024.0211].

Citation: Jessica Wijesundera, Geoff Ball, Alexander J. Wray, Jason Gilliland, Anamaria Savu, Douglas C. Dover, Andrea M. Haqq, and Padma Kaul. “Relationships Between Measures of the Physical Activity-Related Built Environment and Excess Weight in Preschoolers: A Retrospective, Population-Level Cohort Study.” Childhood Obesity; 2024. https://doi.org/10.1089/chi.2024.0211

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