June 9 | 2020

Built Environment, Physical Activity, and Obesity: Findings from the International Physical Activity and Environment Network (IPEN) Adult Study.

Sallis JF, Cerin E, Kerr J, Adams MA, Sugiyama T, Christiansen LB, Schipperijn J, Davey R, Salvo D, Frank LD, De Bourdeaudhuij I, Owen N.

Annu Rev Public Health. 2020 Apr 2;41:119-139. doi: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-040218-043657.


Creating more physical activity-supportive built environments is recommended by the World Health Organization for controlling noncommunicable diseases. The IPEN (International Physical Activity and Environment Network) Adult Study was undertaken to provide international evidence on associations of built environments with physical activity and weight status in 12 countries on 5 continents (n > 14,000). This article presents reanalyzed data from eight primary papers to identify patterns of findings across studies. Neighborhood environment attributes, whether measured objectively or by self-report, were strongly related to all physical activity outcomes (accelerometer-assessed total physical activity, reported walking for transport and leisure) and meaningfully related to overweight/obesity. Multivariable indexes of built environment variables were more strongly related to most outcomes than were single-environment variables. Designing activity-supportive built environments should be a higher international health priority. Results provide evidence in support of global initiatives to increase physical activity and control noncommunicable diseases while achieving sustainable development goals.