Neighborhood Influences on Health


  • A young mother and her daughter walk through a park


    How Can Parks Help Increase Physical Activity?

    May 7, 2018

    Public neighborhood parks play an important role in providing venues for physical activity in urban areas. But they tend to be underutilized, especially for moderate to vigorous exercise.

  • Men on different ladders to illustrate inequity in Pittsburgh, Pa., illustrations by hyejin kang and teddyandmia/Getty Images; design by Chara Williams/RAND Corporation


    How Pittsburgh Is Addressing Social and Economic Disparities

    Jul 2, 2019

    Pittsburgh has been taking a hard look at race, wealth, and opportunity. In partnership with RAND, the city has run and published its numbers on subjects ranging from police contacts to business ownership to graduation rates as part of a commitment to do better.

Explore Neighborhood Influences on Health

  • Pedestrians in a region of the South Bronx that has seen a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in New York August 7, 2015


    Control Disease in a New York Minute

    Legionella bacteria are ubiquitous in many warm-water environments, but outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease like the recent one in the South Bronx don't have to be. Effective public health policies can help inhibit Legionella growth, minimize the occurrence and impact of outbreaks, and save lives.

    Aug 20, 2015

  • Woman holding a bag of groceries

    Journal Article

    Defining the Neighborhood Food Environment

    Many definitions of the neighborhood food environment are misaligned with individual travel patterns. Neighborhood environments defined by actual travel activity may provide more insight on how the food environment influences dietary and food shopping choices.

    Aug 12, 2015

  • Man in bed checking cell phone


    Sleepless in the City

    An alarming number of American city dwellers face sleepless nights, followed inevitably by days of productivity-sapping fatigue and, ultimately, the possibility of more serious health consequences. There are some things they can do to better their chances of falling and staying asleep.

    Jul 17, 2015

  • Customers in line at a food truck


    Putting Health to the (Taste) Test

    Researchers teamed up with a dozen Los Angeles lunch trucks to test healthier menu items—chicken breasts and grilled fish alongside the usual tacos and hamburgers.

    Jul 1, 2015

  • Elderly Hispanic Man

    Journal Article

    Neighbourhood Racial/Ethnic Composition and Segregation and Trajectories of Cognitive Decline Among U.S. Older Adults

    This study demonstrates disparities in the progression of cognitive ageing according to racial/ethnic characteristics of the neighbourhood environment.

    Jun 3, 2015

  • Journal Article

    Influence of the Built Environment on Pedestrian Route Choices of Adolescent Girls

    We examined the influence of the built environment on pedestrian route selection among adolescent girls.

    May 29, 2015

  • Woman consulting shopping list in grocery store

    Journal Article

    Using a Grocery List May Lead to Better Health Outcomes

    A shopping list may be a no-cost, easily implemented tool to help high-risk, low-income individuals living in a food desert make healthier food choices.

    May 12, 2015

  • News Release

    No Evidence That Los Angeles Fast-Food Curbs Have Improved Diets or Cut Obesity

    A Los Angeles ordinance designed to curb obesity in low-income areas by restricting the opening of new fast-food restaurants has failed to reduce fast-food consumption or obesity. Since the restrictions were passed in 2008, overweight and obesity rates in neighborhoods targeted by the law have increased faster than in other parts of the city or other parts of the county.

    Mar 19, 2015

  • Customers holding fast food in South Los Angeles in August 2008 said they weren't planning to give it up

    Journal Article

    LA Fast-Food Ban Did Not Improve Diets or Cut Obesity

    A Los Angeles ordinance designed to curb obesity in low-income areas by restricting the opening of new fast-food restaurants has failed to reduce fast-food consumption or obesity. Since the restrictions were passed in 2008, overweight and obesity rates in neighborhoods targeted by the law have increased faster than in other parts of the city or other parts of the county.

    Mar 17, 2015

  • African-American woman looking down

    Journal Article

    Depression May Increase Obesity Risk

    Significant links were found between depression, poor nutrition, and obesity in a low-income, primarily African-American “food desert” in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mental health interventions may have broader benefits in this population.

    Mar 11, 2015

  • A blurry convenience store aisle


    A New Year's Resolution: Target Practices That Undermine Weight Control

    Many will vow to lose weight in the coming year, but most will inevitably fail, not from lack of motivation or knowledge but from insuperable forces undermining their best intentions. America should resolve to address obesity where it begins: the point of purchase.

    Dec 29, 2014

  • The view from a shopping cart at a grocery store

    Journal Article

    Improved Access May Not Be the Key to Addressing Food Deserts

    As part of the ongoing battle to fight obesity in the U.S., current policies are aimed at improving access to healthy foods, especially in neighborhoods designated as food deserts. However, research indicates proximity to full-service supermarkets was unrelated to weight or dietary quality.

    Dec 9, 2014

  • Woman running in a park


    Measuring the Contribution of Public Parks to Physical Activity and Health

    As important venues for physical activity, public parks contribute to the health and well-being of surrounding communities. The System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC), a reliable and easy-to-use tool, enables park administrators to quantify park use and park-based physical activity.

    Dec 2, 2014

  • Fresh produce at a grocery store


    Location, Location, Location: Does the Food Desert Narrative Hold Up?

    There's little rigorous evidence to support the notion that 'food deserts' are driving the U.S. obesity epidemic but this narrative has nearly become conventional wisdom. In response, stakeholders have poured hundreds of millions into bringing supermarkets to these neighborhoods.

    Oct 28, 2014

  • Teenagers hang out in an alley

    Journal Article

    Adolescents and Marijuana: Factors Contributing to Use, Non-Use, and Cessation

    With marijuana use increasing among American adolescents, a study examines the factors associated with quitting—including neighborhood, family, peer network, and individual factors. Results highlight the importance of such factors and show that relocated and isolated individuals may face challenges with cessation.

    Oct 17, 2014

  • Journal Article

    Daily Mean Temperature and Clinical Kidney Stone Presentation in Five U. S. Metropolitan Areas: A Time-Series Analysis

    Our objective was to estimate associations between mean daily temperature and kidney stone presentation according to lag time and temperatures.

    Oct 1, 2014

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    Women's Heart Disease Awareness

    Friday is National Wear Red Day, when people are asked to wear red to raise awareness about the health risks women face from heart disease. Too little attention is devoted to preventing heart disease in women and improving the quality and outcomes of their care.

    Feb 5, 2014

  • Journal Article

    The Potential for Pocket Parks to Increase Physical Activity

    Pocket parks, when perceived as attractive and safe destinations, may increase physical activity by encouraging families with children to walk there.

    Jan 1, 2014

  • Arms pushing a cart at the supermarket

    Journal Article

    What’s Inside the Neighborhood Store May Matter More Than Its Location

    Placing supermarkets in food deserts to improve access may not be as important as offering better prices for healthy foods, actively marketing healthy foods, and helping consumers resist junk food appeals.

    Jan 1, 2014

  • Urban scene with public housing

    Journal Article

    The Impact of Public Housing on Social Networks: A Natural Experiment

    Different types of public housing have a modest impact on the health composition of one's social network, suggesting the importance of housing policy for health.

    Jan 1, 2014