Environmental influences on eating and physical activity

Annu Rev Public Health. 2001:22:309-35. doi: 10.1146/annurev.publhealth.22.1.309.


Obesity has increased dramatically over the past two decades and currently about 50% of US adults and 25% of US children are overweight. The current epidemic of obesity is caused largely by an environment that promotes excessive food intake and discourages physical activity. This chapter reviews what is known about environmental influences on physical activity and eating behaviors. Recent trends in food supply, eating out, physical activity, and inactivity are reviewed, as are the effects of advertising, promotion, and pricing on eating and physical activity. Public health interventions, opportunities, and potential strategies to combat the obesity epidemic by promoting an environment that supports healthy eating and physical activity are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Advertising
  • Child
  • Exercise*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Food Supply
  • Health Planning
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities
  • Life Style*
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Social Environment*
  • United States / epidemiology