DP6191 | Fat City: Questioning the Relationship Between Urban Sprawl and Obesity

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We study the relationship between urban sprawl and obesity. Using data that tracks individuals over time, we find no evidence that urban sprawl causes obesity. We show that previous findings of a positive relationship most likely reflect a failure to properly control for the fact the individuals who are more likely to be obese choose to live in more sprawling neighbourhoods. Our results indicate that current interest in changing the built environment to counter the rise in obesity is misguided.