Neighbourhood speed limit and childhood obesity

Miyang Luo, Hanqi Li, Xiongfeng Pan, Teng Fei, Shaoqing Dai, Ge Qiu, Yuxuan Zou, Heleen Vos, Jiayou Luo, Peng Jia*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
51 Downloads (Pure)


As an important factor for neighbourhood walkability, the speed limit in the neighbourhood may influence children's physical activity (PA) outdoors, especially active transport, and further their weight status. This review aimed to systematically evaluate the association between neighbourhood speed limit and obesity‐related behaviours and outcomes among children and adolescents. PubMed, Embase and Web of Science were systematically searched for relevant studies published from the inception of the database to 1 January 2019. Sixteen studies were included, with 13 cross‐sectional studies and three longitudinal studies. Speed limit was measured as the percentage/number of high‐speed roads, perception of safe driving speed, perception of speeding and use of traffic‐calming tools in the neighbourhood. Eleven studies measured the use of active transport as the outcome of interest, and seven studies measured PA directly. Eleven studies revealed an association between a lower speed limit and increased PA, whereas one study showed a negative association, and three studies reported non‐significant associations. Only one study associated speed limit with weight status, which reported a non‐significant association. This review generally supported a negative association between speed limit and PA among children and adolescents. More studies are needed to examine their causality, as well as the association between speed limit and weight status, in order to increase the impact of this research area on public health policy making.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13052
Number of pages11
JournalObesity reviews
Issue numberS1
Early online date12 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021


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