Date of Award

5-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Geospatial Science

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Francis Koti

Second Advisor

Dr. Lisa Keys-Mathews

Third Advisor

Dr. Mario Mighty

Abstract

In the past few decades obesity has been among the most studied health issues globally. In the United States, studies have indicated that obesity rates are rising in most states with growing evidence that obesity in the US is largely related to economic factors (Chou et al., 2004; Chang et al., 2005; Rosin, 2008). This paper provides an overview and spatial analysis of adult obesity in the state of Alabama. Although research has linked obesity prevalence to different economic factors, other variables are often excluded; hence this study will incorporate factors that are often omitted such as lack of health insurance, physical inactivity, access to recreational facilities, and limited access to healthy food. Demographic, economic, health and environmental data were collected from the US Census bureau 2010 datasets, health and medical data from United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE),County Business Patterns, and USDA Food Environment Atlas. These data were analyzed using cluster analysis (Getis-Ord GI), Spatial Autocorrelation (Global Moran's I) and Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test to assess the role of location in health analysis. Multiple Regression, Global Ordinary Least Square (OLS) and Geographically-Weighted Regression (GWR) were used to determine spatial relationships between variables and location. Analysis indicated that obesity rates are higher in rural than urban counties and also confirmed that there is spatial relationship between socio-economic, demographic, health, and built environment variables although the relationship varies with specific factors and by location.

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