- The explosion of technologic advances in information capture and delivery offers unparalleled opportunities to assess and modify built and social environments in ways that can positively impact health behaviors. This paper highlights some potentially transformative current and emerging trends in the technology arena applicable to environmental context−based assessment and intervention relevant to physical activity and dietary behaviors.
- In the past 15 years, researchers, practitioners, and community residents and leaders have become increasingly interested in associations among built environments and physical activity, diet, and obesity. Numerous tools to measure activity and food environments have been developed but vary in quality and usability. Future progress depends on aligning these tools with new communication technology and increasing their utility for planning and policy.
- Self-monitoring for weight loss has traditionally been performed with paper diaries. Technologic advances could reduce the burden of self-monitoring and provide feedback to enhance adherence.
- In-store food marketing can influence food-purchasing behaviors and warrants increased attention given the dramatic rise in obesity. Descriptive and experimental studies of key marketing components have been conducted by consumer scientists, marketing researchers, and public health experts. This review synthesizes research and publications from industry and academic sources and provides direction for developing and evaluating promising interventions.
- GIS-based walkability measures designed to explain active travel fail to capture “playability” and proximity to healthy food. These constructs should be considered when measuring potential child obesogenic environments.
- Identifying neighborhood environment attributes related to childhood obesity can inform environmental changes for obesity prevention.