Predicting geographical variation in health-related quality of life.


Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Maryland School of Public Health, College Park, MD, United States. Electronic address: [Email]


Goods and services provided by businesses can either promote health or represent an additional risk factor. We assessed the association between business pattern indicators and the prevalence of adult obesity, diabetes, physical inactivity, fair or poor health and frequent physical and mental distress. Data on business types were obtained from the 2013 U.S. Census Bureau County Business Patterns. County health data were obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Diabetes Interactive Atlas, Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System and Fatality Analysis Reporting System. We explored the relationship at county level using the global (Ordinary Least Square regression) and local (Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR)) models in 3108 U.S. counties. Density of full service restaurants and fitness centers was associated with a significant decrease in adult obesity, diabetes, fair or poor health, physical inactivity, physical and mental distress. Conversely, density of payday loan centers was associated with an increase in these adverse health outcomes. However, our GWR models revealed substantial geographical variations in these relationships across the U.S. counties. Better understanding of the association between area-level structures and important health outcomes at the local level is important for developing targeted context-specific policy interventions. Full service restaurants and fitness centers may provide places for people to access higher quality food, socialize and exercise. Conversely, payday loans provide an expensive form of short-term credit and this debt may degrade an individual or family's ability to achieve or maintain health. Our study emphasizes the influence of local built environment characteristics on important health outcomes.


Business patterns,Chronic disease,County,Geographically weighted regression,Geography,Health,Quality of life,