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Environments Perceived as Obesogenic Have Lower Residential Property Values

      Background

      Studies have tried to link obesity rates and physical activity with multiple aspects of the built environment.

      Purpose

      To determine the relation between residential property values and multiple perceived (self-reported) measures of the obesogenic environment.

      Methods

      The Seattle Obesity Study (SOS) used a telephone survey of a representative, geographically distributed sample of 2,001 King County adults, collected in 2008–2009 and analyzed in 2012–2013. Home addresses were geocoded. Residential property values at the tax parcel level were obtained from the King County tax assessor. Mean residential property values within a 10-minute walk (833-m buffer) were calculated for each respondent. Data on multiple perceived measures of the obesogenic environment were collected by self-report. Correlations and multivariable linear regression analyses, stratified by residential density, were used to examine the associations among perceived environmental measures, property values, and BMI.

      Results

      Perceived measures of the environment such as crime, heavy traffic, and proximity to bars, liquor stores, and fast food were all associated with lower property values. By contrast, living in neighborhoods that were perceived as safe, quiet, clean, and attractive was associated with higher property values. Higher property values were associated, in turn, with lower BMIs among women. The observed associations between perceived environment measures and BMI were largely attenuated after accounting for residential property values.

      Conclusions

      Environments perceived as obesogenic are associated with lower property values. Studies in additional locations need to explore to what extent other perceived environment measures can be reflected in residential property values.
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