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Publication Detail
Measuring the built environment in studies of child health – a meta-narrative review of associations
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Ortegon A, McEachan R, Albert A, Cartwright C, Christie N, Dhanani A, Islam S, Ucci M, Vaughan L
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  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
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  • Keywords:
    built environment, streets, children, meta-narrative review, non-communicable diseases, health outcomes
Although the built environment (BE) is important for children’s health there is little consensus about which features are most important due to differences in measurement and outcomes across disciplines. This meta-narrative re-view was undertaken by a multi-disciplinary team of researchers to summarise ways in which BE are measured, and how these link to children’s health. A structured search of four databases across the relevant disciplines retrieved 108 relevant references. The health-related outcomes most commonly addressed were active travel, physical activ-ity and play, and obesity. Many studies used objective (GIS and street audits) or standardised subjective (per-ceived), measurements of the built environment. However, there was a wide variety, and sometimes inconsistency, in their use. There were clear associations between the BE and health. Objective physical activity and self-reported active travel were positively associated with higher street connectivity or walkability measures; while self-reported physical activity and play had the strongest association with reduced street connectivity, indicated by quieter, one-way streets. Future research should implement consistent BE measures to ensure key features are explored. A systems approach will be particularly relevant for addressing place-based health inequalities, given potential un-intended health consequences of making changes to the built environment.
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Dept of Civil, Environ &Geomatic Eng
The Bartlett School of Architecture
Dept of Civil, Environ &Geomatic Eng
Bartlett School Env, Energy & Resources
The Bartlett School of Architecture
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