Obesity, Physical Activity, and the Environment: Is There a Legal Basis for Environmental Injustices?

Wendell C. Taylor, Joseph T. Hepworth, Emily Lees, Karina Feliz, Shamim Ahsan, Andrea Cassells, Devin C. Volding, Jonathan N. Tobin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Although environmental (EJ) justice principles were originally developed for health impacts related to pollution and exposure to toxins, recently these principles have been extended to include neighborhood walkability and urban design. The disproportionate negative health impacts include greater rates of obesity, heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. The authors of comprehensive reviews of EJ principles recommended that physical activity, obesity, and neighborhood quality and design should be studied from an EJ framework. Nonetheless, the question remains what is the extent of and type of empirical data necessary and sufficient to support a legal claim of environmental injustices related to physical inactivity. To address this issue, we propose a three stage EJ research framework for physical activity to support a legal claim. The three stages are to: 1) assess comprehensively the environment; 2) assess differences among environmental features between advantaged and disadvantaged communities; and 3) document health disparities related to environmental features. This paper describes the methods and feasibility to accomplish stage one of the EJ research framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-48
Number of pages4
JournalEnvironmental Justice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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