Indianapolis Site-Specific Neighborhood Health Analysis: Environmental Factors and Risk of Childhood Obesity

Report by Sharon Kandris , Gilbert Liu
January 14, 2003

The Polis Center   (Indianapolis)

Produced for the NNIP cross-site initiative on Neighborhoods and Health, this report uses spatial analysis to study the relationship between community conditions and obesity in children (data derived from an unusually valuable database on patient conditions, regularly contributed to by a large share of all local health care providers in the city).  The frequency of child obesity was strongly associated with neighborhood socioeconomic status, but there were no high correlations with the measures they had for proximity to exercise opportunities and possible social barriers to physical activity. The authors expect that more sophisticated indicators for these latter concepts will yield better predictors, and began working with other local groups to develop better measures. The findings were reviewed by the local Alliance for Health Promotion, which collaborated with the researchers in their search for better data and played a leading role in their application in education campaigns and other program services.