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Neighborhood and Built Environment

Neighborhood and built environments have health impacts for the people who live there. Aspects of neighborhood environments include walkability, land use mix and urbanity, retail, recreational areas, restaurants, fast food outlets, cultural and education institutions, and pollution, such as from traffic or waste sites.


HealthyPeople2020 classifies neighborhood and built environment factors into these four categories:
  • Access to Healthy Foods
  • Quality of Housing
  • Crime and Violence
  • Environmental Conditions

Why It's Important

A neighborhood's built environment can have an influence on residents' health. For example,
  • The more grocery stores in close proximity to where people live, the lower their blood pressure and body mass index tended to be. A fast food outlet in close proximity to where people live was linked to higher body mass index.
  • Neighborhood walkability was associated with physical activity and obesity.
  • Neighborhood presence of hazardous waste facilities enhanced negative effects of stress.
  • Neighborhoods with more older homes have a higher risk of childhood lead exposure.