Contextual Influences on Obesity Prevalence: A Spatially Explicit Analysis

Nyesha C. Black, Pennsylvania State University

This study examines contextual influences on obesity in the United States. Using several secondary data sources, I constructed a dataset with a rich set of county-level contextual variables. This study employs a spatially explicit perspective. I also use traditional regression methods, along with exploratory spatial data analysis and geographic weighted regression. Results from OLS show that rural counties do not significantly differ from urban counties, whereas minority composition, features of the environment and physical inactivity among adults are all significantly associated with obesity. Also, income inequality was found to provide a protective barrier against higher obesity prevalence. This finding suggests that the relationship between inequality and health should be further explored. Furthermore, GWR confirms that place matters and the relationship between contextual influences and obesity prevalence varies substantially across place. GWR provides an empirical basis for public health interventionists to target predictors of obesity at the local level.

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Presented in Poster Session 2