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Childhood Obesity

We are evaluating the relation of the food, land use, physical activity and social environments, measured as features of communities, with body mass index by studying more than 160,000 children with a Geisinger primary care provider. We have funding from the National Institutes of Health as part of the Johns Hopkins systems-oriented childhood obesity center. This new center has three research projects, one of which is centered at Geisinger, and is applying mathematical modeling methods often used in engineering, such as complex dynamic systems and agent-based models, to the obesity epidemic in the region. In phase two of this work, we will complete more detailed measurements in both children and communities.


  • Poulsen MN, Knapp EA, Hirsch AG, Bailey-Davis L, Pollak J, Schwartz BS. Comparing objective measures of the built environment in their associations with youth physical activity and sedentary behavior across heterogeneous geographies. Health & Place 2018; 49: 30-38.
  • Poulsen MN, Pollak J, Bailey-Davis L, Hirsch AG, Glass TA, Schwartz BS. Associations of prenatal and childhood antibiotic use with child body mass index at age three years. Obesity 2017; 25: 438-444.
  • Bailey-Davis L, Poulsen MN, Hirsch AG, Pollak J, Glass TA, Schwartz BS. Home food rules in relation to youth eating behaviors, body mass index, waist circumference, and percent body fat. J Adolescent Health 2017; 60: 270-276.
  • Schwartz BS, Pollak J, Bailey-Davis L, Hirsch AG, Cosgrove SE, Nau C, Kress A, Glass TA, Bandeen-Roche K. Antibiotic use and childhood body mass index trajectory. Internat J Obesity, 2016; 40: 615-21.
  • Schwartz BS, Glass TA, Pollak J, Hirsch AG, Bailey-Davis L, Bandeen-Roche K. Depression, its co-morbidities and treatment, and childhood body mass index trajectories. Obesity, 2016; 24: 2585-2592.
  • Nau C, Ellis H, Huang H, Schwartz BS, Hirsch A, Bailey-Davis L, Kress AM, Pollak J, Glass TA. Exploring the forest instead of the trees: An innovative method for defining obesogenic and obesoprotective environments. Health & Place, 2015; 35: 136-46.
  • Nau C, Schwartz BS, Bandeen-Roche K, Liu A, Pollak J, Hirsch A, Bailey-Davis L, Glass TA. Community socioeconomic deprivation and obesity trajectories in children using electronic health records. Obesity 2015; 23: 207-12. 
  • Schwartz BS, Bailey-Davis L, Bandeen-Roche K, Pollak J, Hirsch AG, Nau C, Liu AY, Glass TA. Attention deficit disorder, stimulant use, and childhood body mass index trajectory. Pediatrics 2014; 133: 688-76. 
  • Schwartz BS, Stewart WF, Godby S, Pollak J, DeWalle J, Larson SL, Mercer DG, Glass TA. Body mass index and the built and social environments in children and adolescents using electronic health records. Am J Prev Med 2011; 41: e17-28. 
  • Feng J, Glass TA, Curriero FC, Stewart WF, Schwartz BS. The built environment and obesity: a systematic review of the epidemiologic evidence. Health & Place 2010; 16: 175-90.
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