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date: 20 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter addresses how objectively rated macro- and micro-level features of the physical environment and residents’ perceptions of the environment support healthy physical activity and eating; these choices in turn relate to environmental health. Environmental qualities such as density, diversity of destinations, and pedestrian-friendly design relate to walking and other activities at both macro- and micro-levels. Perceived walkability sometimes relates to objectively assessed measures but often predicts activity independently as well. Macro environmental factors, such as agricultural practices and food store locations, have important relationships to food availability. Microlevel cues, such as the size of food containers, affect food consumption, often without awareness. Both multiple levels of support and multiple benefits are keys to enabling the macro, micro, and perceptual environments to work in concert to support health. Understanding such systems requires multidisciplinary teams and diverse methodologies. Research is needed at key turning points in life, such as relocation, to make healthier choices easy ones.

Keywords: walkability, physical environment, pedestrian-friendly environment, food environment, health, eating, physical activity, walking

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