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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Kathleen M Tharp, PhD, MPH, RD (University of Iowa College of Public Health)
Description: This book describes environmental and policy components that contribute to obesity, examining current tools to collect data and the available evidence, and presenting potential interventions to create healthier environments.
Purpose: The purpose is to examine all of the ways in which the environment contributes to overweight and obesity in individuals and populations. Given the unabated global trend of increasing overweight and obesity, there is great need to understand the various influences leading to weight gain. This book provides a comprehensive look at those influences.
Audience: While the editors do not explicitly state their intended audience, they do indicate that the book provides a multidisciplinary approach to public health. I can recommend the book for students and public health practitioners.
Features: The authors discuss the role of individual healthy eating and active living behaviors, the built environment, and policies. The book also presents sources of current data, methods for collecting and examining new evidence, the current evidence base, and implications for future public health interventions. The book particularly focuses on physical activity and the environment, including issues related to walkability, availability and accessibility of environments, school physical activity policies, active travel, and green space. One whole chapter is devoted to defining and mapping environments, which gives a helpful description of GIS mapping and other tools. The role of media and worksite interventions are mentioned, but not covered in detail.
Assessment: This is a useful guide for public health practitioners interested in understanding current evidence and data for interventions around food and physical activity environments and policies. To my knowledge, this is the first book to take an entirely environmental and policy approach to looking at obesity influences across the lifespan.