Effects of buffer size and shape on associations between the built environment and energy balance

Health Place. 2014 May;27:162-70. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2014.02.003. Epub 2014 Mar 7.


Uncertainty in the relevant spatial context may drive heterogeneity in findings on the built environment and energy balance. To estimate the effect of this uncertainty, we conducted a sensitivity analysis defining intersection and business densities and counts within different buffer sizes and shapes on associations with self-reported walking and body mass index. Linear regression results indicated that the scale and shape of buffers influenced study results and may partly explain the inconsistent findings in the built environment and energy balance literature.

Keywords: Body mass index; Built environment; Geographic information systems; Spatial uncertainty; Walking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Environment Design / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Walking / statistics & numerical data*