FUNDING SOURCE: CDC PRC Special Interest Project, U48/CCU409664 SIP 19-01 (2001 – 2003)


  • Delores Pluto, PhD


  • Fran C. Wheeler, PhD
  • David E. Murday, PhD
  • Teresa E. Hill, MS, RD

The overall goal of this two-year project was to identify and describe federal, state, and local policies that influence features of the built environment related to physical activity and nutrition.  Investigators began by working with a multi-disciplinary team and the CDC to identify and prioritize features of the built environment that may influence physical activity and nutrition and construct a framework for reviewing relevant federal, state and local policies.  Members of the team included national experts in the area of policy and physical activity and nutrition; representatives of state agencies that implement policies related to the built environment (e.g., departments of transportation, health, natural resources, recreation and education); policy specialists from the University of South Carolina and Clemson University; and Prevention Research Center staff involved in research related to policy and environment.

After selecting a local geographic region as a case study area, the team undertook an appraisal of policies that directly or indirectly influence the built environment.  Interviews were conducted with experts to determine how well these policies are implemented and how they affect decision making in the context of the selected geographic area.  Selected experts included policy makers (e.g., county/city council members, planners), regulators (e.g., zoning officials), implementers (e.g., designers, developers), etc. in the case study area.  The results of this investigation were presented in a technical document written for public health practitioners, public health researchers, and other interested audiences.  The document summarized the policies identified at each level; the mechanisms by which they influenced physical activity and nutrition behaviors; how policies were established; and how they were interpreted, implemented, or modified in practice.


Pluto, D., Shepard, D., Wheeler, F. C., Murday, D., Hill, T., & Pearch, T. L. (2004). Policy influences on the built environment that can influence physical activity and nutrition behaviors: SIP 19-01 (Report to the CDC). Columbia, SC: Prevention Research Center, University of South Carolina.