Background: With rapid economy growth, the prevalence of obesity, and related chronic diseases, has increased greatly. Although this has been widely recognized, little attention has been paid to the influence of built environment and economic growth, particularly for developing countries. The main purpose of this study is to investigate the potential relationship between the prevalence of diabetes and the built environment while considering the effects of socioeconomic change in China. Methods: Three nationally representative samples are constructed and employed mainly based on various sources of data, such as the China National Nutrition and Health Survey, World Health Organization, and China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Survey in 2013. The explanatory variables representing the built environment and influential factors include the health outcomes, economic indicators, local health facilities, regional dummies, and demographic features. OLS, robust regressions, and a set of binary choice models are used to estimate the possible relationship. Results: It is suggested that the prevalence of diabetes is associated with both the broader built environment and individual economic factors in China. China's sharp economic growth in the recent decades has greatly increased the prevalence of obesity and diabetes, when also considering other influential factors. Conclusions: Although the results can not specify causal mechanism, some useful results can be clearly discovered and subsequently a few important policy implications can be provided for the sustainable and healthy development of China's urban planning or built environment.
- Built environment