Area 1: Mapping environmental determinants

Summary (as of Feb 2022)

Below we summarise the projects that have been implemented to study the physical, socio-cultural, political and economic environmental factors that influence food choice and physical activity.

We have made the most progress in this area. Specifically, we have made concerted efforts in the investigation of political (Food-EPI), and social-cultural and physical environmental (Apps for life FGD and FEAST) factors that are likely to impact individual food choices, as well as for physical activity in young children and youths (AHKGA Singapore report card). From the results thus far, many political measures to improve diet behaviors are in place. However, gaps remain in areas such as taxation and policies that promote healthy eating that operate outside food sectors. On a social-environmental level, we were able to ascertain the strong influence of social norms, social contacts and even social media on individual food choices. More insights from the FEAST study looking into physical environments related to food choices will be valuable.

In terms of physical activity and sedentary behavior, we have investigated relevant environmental aspects. Specifically, the HEAL and Apps for life FGD studies found a strong link between social and physical environments, and movement behaviors. Physical environments are often either enabling or inhibiting movements in various settings (e.g., location and attractiveness of movement-enabling environments). These results were confirmed in our systematic review of Correlates of sedentary behaviour for adults in Asia, where we found that people tend to sit less when micro- and macro-environments are conducive to this. We are now conducting a further review to assess whether these findings hold true for children. Finally, as we move toward developing and implementing dynamically tailored real-time interventions, we have undertaken a scoping review to map the current state of the evidence for mobile health interventions targeting physical activity and sedentary behaviours in healthy populations in Asia. In addition, as part of the Parks and Health project, detailed geospatial maps of the structural environment across Singapore were created. They have, for instance, been used to determine the influence of parks and green spaces on health behaviors and well-being.


Last updated Dec 21, 2022