Monday, October 28, 2013

Remote sensing to define environmental characteristics related to physical activity and diet

In a paper just published online in the journal Health & Place, with Dr. Charriere from the Nutritional Epidemiology Research Unit of Universit√© Paris as first author, we report on a systematic literature review on the use of free geospatial services as potential tools to assess built environmental characteristics related to dietary behaviour and physical activity.  This review was conducted as part of the SPOTLIGHT (Sustainable prevention of obesity through integrated strategies) project Thirteen  studies were included conducted in urban contexts, with Google Earth and Google Street View as the two main free geospatial services used. The agreement between virtual and field audit was higher for items related to objectively verifiable measures such as the presence of physical activity infrastructure and equipment, and lower for subjectively assessed items such as aesthetics, street atmosphere, et cetera. Free geospatial services appear as promising alternatives to field audit for assessment of objective dimensions of the built environment.