Is the Built Environment Associated with Youth Physical Activity and Weight?


To examine how the built environment and related policies influence adolescent physical activity and obesity.


Dr. Slater is studying how the built environment and related policies influence adolescent physical activity and ultimately overweight and obesity. In the mentored phase, she is completing two analyses using existing data that study the association between youth active travel, physical activity, overweight and obesity and a variety of built environmental measures. The results of these analyses are then used to inform and guide the development of a pilot project for the independent scientist phase of this award. In addition, both the mentored and independent research plans allow for the utilization of multi-disciplinary analytic skills and techniques to be acquired in the mentored phase of this award.

During the independent phase, Dr. Slater is developing and initiating a pilot project to examine the importance of school and community physical activity settings and opportunities on youth physical activity levels, overweight and obesity. The study combines detailed individual and parental survey data of Kindergarten, 3rd grade, and 5th grade students with community-level built environmental and related policy data, and school-level measures. This study examines the direct impact of individual and contextual factors on measures of BMI and overweight status, as well as their indirect influence on these outcomes via their effect on intermediary behaviors related to physical activity behaviors. The results of the pilot then informs a larger RO1 grant application. The results from a large-scale empirical study can then inform community-based interventions to reduce adolescent obesity.

Funding Agency

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health (Grant Nos. 5K99HD055033 and 4R00HD055033-03)

Principal investigator

Sandy J. Slater, PhD

Start date
End date
Total award
About this grant

This is an NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00). The mentored phase of the grant (K99) ended in November 2009, when the independent research phase (R00) began.

Related publications

See publications supported by this grant on this PubMed list


Slater S, Chriqui J, Chaloupka FJ, Johnston L. Joint use policies: are they related to adolescent behavior? Prev Med. 2014 Dec;69 Suppl 1:S37-43. [See abstract.]

Slater SJ, Nicholson L, Chriqui J, Barker DC, Chaloupka FJ, Johnston LD. Walkable communities and adolescent weight. Am J Prev Med. 2013 Feb;44(2):164-8. [See abstract.]

Slater SJ, Nicholson L, Chriqui J, Turner L, Chaloupka F. The impact of state laws and district policies on physical education and recess practices in a nationally representative sample of US public elementary schools. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012 Apr;166(4):311-6. [See abstract.]