Built environment, physical activity, and obesity: what have we learned from reviewing the literature?

Health Place. 2012 Jan;18(1):100-5. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2011.08.021. Epub 2011 Sep 13.


To evaluate the growing literature on the built environment and physical activity/obesity, we conducted a review of review papers. Through a systematic search, we identified 36 reviews that met the inclusion criteria and evaluated these reviews based on key information provided, review methodology, and specificity regarding measurement. We also analyzed research gaps and areas of improvement identified by previous reviews and propose a research agenda. Future studies should develop complex conceptual and statistical models that include moderators and mediators, improve objective and perceived measures of the built environment, and strengthen evidence of causality through better research designs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Environment
  • Environment Design* / standards
  • Humans
  • Motor Activity*
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Obesity / prevention & control