Congratulations to Suzanne Mavoa for completing her PhD

Suzanne Mavoa is the Senior GIS Analyst at the McCaughey VicHealth Community Wellbeing Unit. Her research focuses on developing new and improved geospatial methods in health research, especially around Qualitative GIS, the use of new technologies, GPS, accessibility measures, and assessing exposure to the environment.

PhD Title: DELINEATING NEIGHBOURHOOD AND EXPOSURE IN BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY RESEARCH

Supervisors: Professor Karen Witten (Massey University) & Associate Professor David O'Sullivan (University of California, Berkeley)

SHORE & Whariki Research Centre, Massey University

SUMMARY:

Achieving adequate levels of physical activity is important for improving health and reducing the risk of chronic disease. Researchers have established that the characteristics of places we live are related to physical activity levels. However, a limitation of current research is the focus on residential neighbourhoods and uncertainty about the size of neighbourhoods important for physical activity. Ms Mavoa used Geographic Information Systems (GIS) methods to determine that 800 m is an appropriate sized residential neighbourhood when assessing the relationship between the environment and adult’s physical activity. She also used children’s global positioning system data to demonstrate that focusing solely on the residential neighbourhood excludes over half of children’s activity. Based on these results she proposed and tested improved GIS methods to assess exposure to the environment.