An Open Source Spatiotemporal Model for Simulating Obesity Prevalence

Jay Lee, Xinyue Ye

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Obesity may be the single most challenging example for a condition with causes and consequences at multiple levels and with multiple feedback loops among influencing factors. New approaches to modeling obesity prevalence are needed to fully understand the complexities associated with the relationship between obesity and the demographic, socio-economic and environmental factors. We describe in this paper a computer simulation project that focuses on the causes of obesity-related health disparities. In particular, our project adopts the susceptible, infected, and recovered (SIR) framework and the categorization of population into normal, overweight, obese, and extremely obese subpopulations. This project is important to public health because the fully developed computer application provides a new, more comprehensive, decision support tool for policy makers than most existing applications. The implementation of policies that effectively combat obesity would improve the health and well-being of a high percentage of the population, including both adults and children. It will also greatly reduce associated economic costs to society such as health care expenses and loss of productivity. Being written in open source, our computer application is entirely cross-platform, lowering the transmission costs in research and education. Free access to the source code allows a broader community to incorporate additional advances in generating research questions for specific goals, thus facilitating collaboration across disciplines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Geographic Information Science
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAdvances in Geographic Information Science
ISSN (Print)1867-2434
ISSN (Electronic)1867-2442

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development


  • Obesity
  • Open source
  • Spatiotemporal model


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