Health Impacts of the Built and Social Environments, and Travel Behavior: The Case of the Sunshine State

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Mahmoudi, J.; Zhang, L. Health Impacts of the Built and Social Environments, and Travel Behavior: The Case of the Sunshine State. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 9102.


As physical inactivity statistics for the U.S. population show an alarming trend, many health problems have been increasing among Americans in recent decades. Thus, identification of the factors that influence people’s physical activity levels and health outcomes has become ever more essential to promote public health. The built envSFironment is among the main factors that impact individuals’ health outcomes. However, little is known about the health impacts of built environment factors at large geographical scales such as those of the metropolitan area of residence. Further, the health impacts of travel behavior such as telecommuting and teleshopping remain unclear. This study uses an ecological model framework to probe the roles of travel behavior and built as well as social environments at different spatial levels in health. Instrumental variable binary probit models have been developed to examine the complex interlinks between measures of travel behavior, physical activity levels, built and social environment characteristics, and individuals’ health outcomes. Findings indicate that built and social environment factors at different spatial levels, including the metropolitan area, are correlated with individuals’ health outcomes. Additionally, the findings suggest that increased levels of telecommuting and teleshopping within communities may lead to unfavorable health outcomes. The findings shed light on the most promising policy interventions that can promote public health through modifications targeting people’s travel choices as well as the built and social environments within urban areas.