Collective Behavior in the Spatial Spreading of Obesity

Scientific Reports 2, Article number 454, Published 14 June 2012

Lazaros K. Gallos, Pablo Barttfeld, Shlomo Havlin, Mariano Sigman, and Hernán A. Makse

“Obesity prevalence is increasing in many countries at alarming levels. A difficulty in the conception of policies to reverse these trends is the identification of the drivers behind the obesity epidemics. Here, we implement a spatial spreading analysis to investigate whether obesity shows spatial correlations, revealing the effect of collective and global factors acting above individual choices. We find a regularity in the spatial fluctuations of their prevalence revealed by a pattern of scale-free long-range correlations. The fluctuations are anomalous, deviating in a fundamental way from the weaker correlations found in the underlying population distribution indicating the presence of collective behavior, i.e., individual habits may have negligible influence in shaping the patterns of spreading.

Detail of the evolution of obesity clusters near percolation as indicated.

Detail of the evolution of obesity clusters near percolation as indicated. The map shows the shape of the first (red), second (yellow), and third (violet) clusters around SC1, and the largest (green) cluster at SC2, together with the location of the red bonds responsible for the transitions. The epicenter is Greene county, AL with 43.7% obesity prevalence.

“Interestingly, we find the same scale-free correlations in economic activities associated with food production. These results motivate future interventions to investigate the causality of this relation providing guidance for the implementation of preventive health policies.”

Esri Promotes Environmental Geodesign at Rio+20

GIS Framework Featured as a Sustainable Development Tool at International Conference

By special invitation from the European Environment Agency (EEA), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the US Department of State, Esri will take part in several important side events at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). The conference will be held June 20–22 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Esri will use this opportunity to explain and promote the concept of geodesign, a design framework and the supporting technology for designing more sustainable cities.

“Providing solutions that support sustainable development has been at the forefront of Esri software development,” said Esri president Jack Dangermond. “We are honored to be recognized as a key technology provider by these agencies and pleased to be supporting them with a framework for decision making.”

At Rio+20, world leaders will write a focused political document renewing their commitment to sustainable development. In the days before this conference, thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, civil society, and intergovernmental organizations will attend side events and sessions to learn about sustainable themes and technologies.

During this time, a team from Esri will present the value of GIS for making place-based decisions. At the EEA side event, Esri’s global affairs team lead, Carmelle Terborgh, PhD, will provide examples showing how the information technology industry is ensuring increased access to information for all.

Terborgh will join representatives of the USDA, the US Department of State, and the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to present My Community, Our Earth (MyCOE). This partnership program encourages and supports geographic learning for sustainable development. In addition, the Esri team will show Change Matters, a web mapping service that follows US government open data sharing policies. Esri will also demonstrate its cloud-based mapping service ArcGIS Online at the US Center pavilion demonstration alley.

[Source: Esri press release]