The Emerging Obesity Epidemic: An Introduction
This chapter considers specific environmental aspects that may be related to physical activity and obesity-related health outcomes among children including preschoolers and adolescents. The putative influence of environments on childhood obesity is via multiple mechanisms, underlying which are factors that facilitate increased energy consumption or decreased energy expenditure. Conversely, sedentary behaviours may negatively influence health separately and independently from the benefits of physical activity. Localized schools nested within communities are thus likely to facilitate increased update of active transportation. Inhibiting factors of walking and cycling to school are distance to school, restrictive school policies, and parental concerns about their child's safety. Over-riding political and social factors may mediate or moderate the influence of the physical environment on physical activity and have not been assessed in relation to physical activity participation or obesity prevalence in children.