Built environment correlates of overweight and obesity among adults in Chennai, India

Deepti Adlakha, Ross C. Brownson, J. Aaron Hipp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Overweight and obesity are steadily rising in South Asia, the world’s most populous region. India, a low- and middle-income country in South Asia is experiencing an obesity epidemic. Built environment features may profoundly influence physical activity and counter the risk from overweight and obesity. This cross-sectional study investigated built environment correlates of overweight and obesity among adults (N = 370, 47.2% female, mean age = 37.9 years) in Chennai, India. Participants from low-socioeconomic status households were more likely to be overweight/obese (odds ratio [OR] = 1.8, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.1–2.9) than participants from high-socioeconomic status households. Driving to work predicted a three-fold increase in overweight or obesity compared to active commuting (OR = 2.9, 95%CI = 1.3–6.4). Household car ownership was linked with an increased likelihood of overweight or obesity (OR = 1.5, 95%CI = 0.7–3.2). Low walkability neighbourhoods significantly predicted an increase in odds of overweight or obesity (OR = 1.8, 95%CI = 1.1–2.8). By 2030, Indian cities are projected to add 250 million people accompanied by a 9.9% annual motor vehicle growth rate. As car ownership increases across Southern Asia, there is an urgent need to develop interventions to promote physical activity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCities and Health
Early online date12 Aug 2020
Publication statusEarly online date - 12 Aug 2020


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