Work Group II

Using Geographic Information Systems for Enhancing Research Relevant to Policy on Diet, Physical Activity, and Weight

This paper presents conclusions from a work group that examined the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for food and physical activity research. The availability of geospatial information and tools provides new ways to investigate activity, weight and health. The article identifies challenges and makes recommendations to improve the field.

Recommendations:

  • Establish stronger theoretical and conceptual models to underlie the abundance of data provided by GIS.
  • Research the definitions of places and the dynamic relationship between people and places.
  • Strengthen the availability, quality, and regulatory standards of geospatial information.
  • Implement the privacy recommendations from the National Academy of Science on geospatial data.
  • Increase capacity in GIS infrastructure and personnel.

These recommendations aim to address several of the obstacles to making GIS-based research a powerful tool in improving understanding of environment and health.

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