Geographical heterogeneity of the relationship between childhood obesity and socio-environmental status: Empirical evidence from Athens, Greece

Christos Chalkias, Apostolos G. Papadopoulos, Kleomenis Kalogeropoulos, Kostas Tambalis, Glykeria Psarra, Labros Sidossis

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Childhood obesity (ChO. 11ChO: Childhood Obesity; OLS: Ordinary Least Square; GWR: Geographically Weighted Regression; SES: Socio-Economic Status; GIS: Geographic Information Systems; AICc: corrected Akaike Information Criterion.) has been recognized as an epidemic in many developed and developing countries. The understanding of the spatial relationships between ChO and socio-environmental status is critical in order to control this epidemic. In this paper, we investigate these relationships and consider empirical evidence from Athens, Greece. We examine the association between ChO and socioeconomic status (education level, family income) and living conditions (population density, land cover of green and recreational areas) by using both global and local statistical analyses. For this purpose, we used survey obesity data collected in 2007 from 18,296 students in the primary schools of Athens. Moreover, we investigated the significance and spatial inequalities of the association between ChO and socio-environmental conditions of the study area. The results from global statistical modeling showed that education level is the most significant predictor of ChO. Furthermore, local Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR) modeling revealed that areas characterized by low educational level, high population density, low family income and limited coverage of green/recreation zones constituted an " obesogenic" environment. The findings of the proposed analysis promote our understanding of the factors influencing childhood obesity and may prove beneficial for the development of policies that target ChO.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-43
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Geography
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2013



  • Childhood obesity
  • GIS
  • GWR
  • Greece
  • Spatial heterogeneity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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