On October 11, 2007, Jeff Lackney presented his findings regarding the “Role of School Design in Obesity Prevention” at an invited conference entitled Beyond Individual Behavior: Multidimensional Research in Obesity Linking Biology to Society organized by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Washington, D.C. His findings will appear in the journal Obesity this Fall.
Abstract: Spatial features of obesogenic environments studied on a broad, community level have been associated with childhood overweight and obesity, but little research has focused on the effects of the design of micro spaces such as schools on individual health behaviors. This presentation aimed to generate thinking and research on the link between school space and architecture and obesity prevention by reviewing and synthesizing available literature in architecture, environmental psychology, and obesity research, in an effort to propose promising ideas for school space design and redesign. Design strategies aimed to promote physical activity and healthy eating are proposed, with particular emphasis on the design of cafeterias, activity spaces, connectivity with the larger community, and student health centers. Concluding remarks include intervention logistics, the merits of and barriers to school redesign, the important role of students in design efforts, and future research directions.