The IPEN Adolescent study was funded by the US National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (HL111378) from 2012 to 2017. The NIH grant funded the Coordinating Centre based at UC San Diego (initially at San Diego State University) as well as data collection in several countries. Most countries were supported by internal grants. The IPEN Coordinating Centre is now supported by the Australian Catholic University, Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research (Behaviour, Environment and Cognition Research Program).


The US Surgeon General, White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity, Healthy People 2020, CDC, WHO, IOM, and the International Obesity Task Force recommend environmental and policy interventions for promoting physical activity (PA) and preventing obesity. Strategies should be evidence-based, but built environments’ potential effects on PA are less-understood in youth than adults. Further, 77 of 109 of studies in a review were from North America, and there are likely lessons from studying other countries with distinct environmental features. The evidence is weakened because studies underestimate effect sizes due to restricted range of environments. Adolescence is the time of steepest decline in PA, so this is a high-risk age group. To accurately assess the strength of association of the built environment attributes with PA, sedentary behaviour and weight status, greater environmental variability is required than any one country can provide. Thus, international studies are required, and IPEN Adolescent is a coordinated study of built environments and PA, sedentary behaviour and obesity using common methods. Objective measures of PA and environments are especially important for studies of youth, and almost all countries in IPEN Adolescent collected objective measures of PA, sedentary time and built environments. Validated and systematically adapted surveys assessed built and social environment attributes, psychosocial and demographic variables, and additional outcomes (active transport to school, participation in organized sports and activity classes).

The study was guided by a specific multi-level ecological model. Fifteen countries are providing data for pooled analyses in IPEN Adolescent. In each country, adolescent-parent pairs were recruited from neighbourhoods or schools selected to vary in walkability and socioeconomic status. GIS-derived measures of walkability (community designs that support walking to destinations), playability (access to recreation facilities), and pedestrian accessibility (sidewalks, transit, barriers to walking) will be analysed separately and combined into a “physical activity-friendliness” index. At least 300 adolescents were recruited in each country.

The primary aim is to estimate strengths of association between objective GIS-based measures of the community environment with accelerometer-measured PA and sedentary time in adolescents from data collected according to a common protocol. The second aim is to estimate strengths of association between perceived measures of the community environment (NEWS-Youth survey) with self-reported walking/cycling to/from school and participation in youth sports and activity classes. The third aim is to estimate strengths of association between objective and perceived environment measures with overweight/obesity in adolescents. Analyses will adjust for multi-level clustering and individual demographics. Data collection has been completed and analyses are underway.

Please visit the main IPEN website for more detail about IPEN Adolescent.

Investigators by country

*Jo Salmon
Jenny Veitch
Anna Timperio
Ester Cerin

*Zaki Islam

*Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij
Delfien Van Dyck

*Rodrigo Reis
Akira Hino

*Josef Mitáš
Karel Frömel
Jan Dygryn

*Jens Troelsen 
Lars Breum Christensen
Jasper Schipperijn

*Ester Cerin
Poh-chin Lai
Anthony Barnett

*RM Anjana
Guha Pradeepa
Ranjani Harish

*Mika Moran
Orna Baron-Epel

*Wan Manan
Yi Yi Lee

*Grant Schofield
*Erica Hinckson
Suzanna Mavoa
Hannah Badland 
Ester Cerin

*Adewale Oyeyemi 
Adetoyeje Oyeyemi

*Jorge Mota
Paula Maria Santos
Andreia Pizarro Andreia

*Javier Molina-Garcia
Ana Queralt

US Coordinating Center – Australian Catholic University and UC San Diego
*Jim Sallis
Jacqueline Kerr
Kelli Cain
Terry Conway
Carrie Geremia
Marc Adams
Larry Frank
Jim Chapman

*Denotes principal investigator

IPEN Adolescent Publications (using international pooled data)



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