An international expert on spatial analysis – techniques that analyze human scale topics using geographic data – will lecture a West Virginia University audience about the methods he uses to research the effect of fast food restaurants on obesity rates in urban areas.

Raymond Florax, professor in the department of agricultural economics at Purdue University, will present “Obesity and Fast Food in Urban Markets: A New Approach Using Geo-referenced Micro Data” at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1 in 325 Brooks Hall as part of the WVU Regional Research Institute seminar series.

RRI Seminars attended by a cross-section of researchers focused on resource economics, economics, and geography.

Approximately one-third of U.S. adults are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This trend does not show any signs of reversing itself. In 2010 alone, the CDC could not find even one state that could tout a rate of obesity of less than 20 percent. What can be done to better understand, control, and reverse this pandemic?

Florax will present a new method of assessing the relationship between features of the built environment and obesity, particularly in urban areas, to help answer this question.

Florax holds degrees in economics and sociology and is professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University. He is also associated with the Department of Spatial Economics at the VU University in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. In Amsterdam, he formerly directed the department’s MASTER-point research group engaged in research on meta-analysis in spatial, transport, and environmental economics, and coordinated a research program on the use of energy efficient technology in small and medium sized enterprises.

At Purdue University, he directs a research group focusing on “Space, Health and Population Economics.” His research deals with spatial data analysis, spatial and environmental modeling, and meta-analysis. He has published widely on these topics and has extensive experience in undergraduate and graduate teaching. He has served a 10-year tenure as editor-in-chief of the journal “Papers in Regional Science,” and is a fellow of the Spatial Econometrics Association, the Netherlands Network of Economics and the Wageningen School of Social Sciences.

The Regional Research Institute has a reputation for contributions to “Regional Science.” Regional scientists use quantitative methods and mathematical models to study economic and social phenomena in a regional setting. The Institute’s forte has been its pioneering research on methods for analyzing regions and its multidisciplinary approach to studying regional development.



CONTACT: Caigan McKenzie, WVU Regional Research Institute

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