Geographic and Contextual Effects on Energy Balance-Related Behaviors and Cancer

  • David Berrigan
  • Robin McKinnon
  • Genevieve Dunton
  • Lan Huang
  • Rachel Ballard-Barbash
Part of the Energy Balance and Cancer book series (EBAC, volume 2)


This chapter concerns the analysis of geographic and contextual effects on health behaviors related to energy balance, such as diet, weight, and physical activity. We adopt a broad definition of the environment to include not just ambient exposures to toxins, meteorological conditions, or other traditional foci of environmental sciences but also the built, economic, social, and policy aspects of the environment. The chapter includes a selective review of research in this area concerning urban sprawl and obesity, built environment and physical activity, social context and energy balance, and the food environment. We then focus on ongoing challenges to advances in the analysis of contextual effects, including discussion of confounding self-selection as a barrier to causal inference, variable selection and spatial scan statistics, and the general problem of incorporating maps into research on health behavior variables. Experimental and longitudinal designs have not been applied extensively in this field and are required to examine causal associations and to quantify which types of interventions are likely to have the largest effect in specific situations.


Physical Activity Energy Balance Human Papilloma Virus Geographic Information System Contextual Effect 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Thanks to Sarah Locke, David Stinchcomb, Fran Thompson, and Donna Spruijt-Metz for many helpful comments on the manuscript. Special thanks to Anne Rogers for editing the entire manuscript, Penny Randall-Levy for preparing the bibliography, and Alyssa Grauman for advice on Fig. 10.1.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Berrigan
    • 1
  • Robin McKinnon
    • 1
  • Genevieve Dunton
    • 2
  • Lan Huang
    • 3
  • Rachel Ballard-Barbash
    • 4
  1. 1.Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Institutes of HealthNational Cancer InstituteBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Risk Factor Monitoring and Methods Branch, Applied Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population SciencesNational Cancer InstituteBethesdaUSA
  3. 3.Physiology & Biophysics and Cell BiologyUniversity of California IrvineIrvineUSA
  4. 4.Applied Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population SciencesNational Cancer InstituteBethesdaUSA

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