Thinking About Place, Spatial Behavior, and Spatial Processes in Childhood Obesity

American Journal of Preventive MedicineAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine, May 2012, Vol. 42, No. 5

“There is no single solution to the childhood obesity epidemic, but there is a need for transdisciplinary collaboration and approaches that consider the potential mechanisms that promote or reduce obesity at all levels of enquiry, from cells to society. In this theme issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine,we focus on place (obesogenic and leptogenic environments), specifıcally the use of GIS, related technologies, and spatial analytical methods in the study of childhood obesity.

“A proven technology, GIS facilitates the measurement, management, mapping, and analysis of the real world. GIS is not a panacea, but the integrative nature of GIS and its linkage with spatial statistical analysis offer an important means of better understanding and dealing with some of the most pressing problems of our time and provide valuable tools for researchers and policymakers alike. Not surprisingly, as GIS has matured (the ready availability of geospatial data, enhanced visualization tools, and advanced spatial analysis methods), there has been an explosion of interest in the application and use of spatial concepts and methods in health-related research.”