Does the built environment relate to the metabolic syndrome in adolescents?

Donald R Dengel, Mary O. Hearst, Joe H. Harmon, Ann Forsyth, Leslie A. Lytle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


This article examines the influence of the neighborhood environment on blood profiles, percent body fat, blood pressure, and the metabolic syndrome (MetS) in adolescents. One hundred and eighty-eight adolescents (10-16 yr) agreed to have a fasting blood sample drawn in addition to measures of weight, height, percent fat, and blood pressure. A MetS cluster score was derived by calculating the sum of the sample-specific z-scores from the percent body fat, fasting glucose, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (negative), triglyceride, and systolic blood pressure. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology was used to calculate the distance to and density of built environmental features. Spearman correlation was used to identify significant (p<0.05) relationships between the built environment and the MetS. Statistically significant correlations were added to linear regression models, adjusted for pubertal status, age, and sex. Multivariate linear regression models revealed significant associations between an increased distance to convenience stores and the MetS. The results of this study suggest a role for the built environment in the development of the MetS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)946-951
Number of pages6
JournalHealth and Place
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Lipoproteins
  • Metabolic syndrome


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