Work Group IV

Future Directions for Measures of the Food and Physical Activity Environments

This article examines the body of research on the impact of food and physical activity environments on health and behavior. The authors identify gaps in the current field and make recommendations for the future direction of research. They recommend that future research:

  • identify measurable factors in the food and activity environments that are conducive to change;
  • improve understanding of the relationships between diet, physical activity, and obesity;
  • develop measures that will work across a wide range of populations and contexts;
  • evaluate experiments to better understand the impact of food and physical activity environments on weight and behavior;
  • create surveillance systems that will track and predict change over time; and
  • develop standards for changes to food and physical environments that will promote health.

These recommendations aim to improve the field of research so that it can best inform policy related to food and physical activity environments.