Deakin University
thornton-usinggeographic-2011.pdf (1.49 MB)

Using geographic information systems (GIS) to assess the role of the built environment in influencing obesity : a glossary

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journal contribution
posted on 2011-07-01, 00:00 authored by Lukar ThorntonLukar Thornton, J Pearce, A Kavanagh
Features of the built environment are increasingly being recognised as potentially important determinants of obesity. This has come about, in part, because of advances in methodological tools such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS). GIS has made the procurement of data related to the built environment easier and given researchers the flexibility to create a new generation of environmental exposure measures such as the travel time to the nearest supermarket or calculations of the amount of neighbourhood greenspace. Given the rapid advances in the availability of GIS data and the relative ease of use of GIS software, a glossary on the use of GIS to assess the built environment is timely. As a case study, we draw on aspects the food and physical activity environments as they might apply to obesity, to define key GIS terms related to data collection, concepts, and the measurement of environmental features.



International journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity




1 - 9


London, England

Open access

  • Yes






Record note : This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2011, Thornton et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.