This paper critically appraised the published literature to determine the relationship between physical and social environmental features of neighbourhoods with child adiposity. MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsychINFO, and SCOPUS were searched from 1999 to July 2009 using a systematic search strategy. Twenty-seven primary studies were included based on a priori eligibility criteria. Socioeconomic disadvantage was consistently shown to increase child adiposity, while there was some evidence that high social capital protected against increased adiposity. It is unclear at this time if and how other neighbourhood environmental features play a role. Heterogeneity and methodological issues across studies limits our ability to draw overall conclusions.
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