Research Project

Examining the impact of active living policies and environments on body mass index and in subgroups disproportionately impacted by obesity

Principal Investigator
Zenk, Shannon N.
Funding Source
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


The Foundation's Health Data for Action initiative is a program aimed at identifying actionable insights from hard-to-access health data to build the evidence base for a Culture of Health.This study will provide decision makers and advocates with rigorous scientific evidence about the impact that active-living policies can have on improving body weight across the lifespan and in subgroups disproportionately impacted by obesity. The researchers will use longitudinal and quasi-experimental research designs to examine the impact of active-living policies and environments on BMI/obesity risk over time. In order to examine whether a causal relationship exists between active-living policies and BMI, the researchers will use a difference-in-differences design, using a two-way, fixed-effects-regression model to exploit geographic variation in the timing of changes in active-living policies across communities in the United States. Deliverables will include a project workplan and final narrative and financial reports. The researchers will also produce a paper or papers suitable for publication and present findings at national research meetings and to other stakeholder audiences, as appropriate, including policy makers at the federal, state, and local levels and other key stakeholders, as part of the deliverables for this grant.