BEAT Institute logoThe Built Environment Assessment Training (BEAT) Institute grew out of the recognition that environmental and policy changes are some of the most promising strategies for controlling obesity and improving diet and physical activity.  

A free online introductory course was developed to promote the variety of observational measures that can be used by researchers, students and practitioners to plan and evaluate changes to the built environment. The course explains how to assess streetscapes, parks and trails for physical activity and highlights some of the current built environment audit tools for the different landscapes. 


NOTE: This training course uses Adobe Flash, which will not be supported after Dec. 31, 2020. We are in the process of updating these materials, but there may be a pause in your ability to access the course.

For help with Adobe Flash, get flash help here.
To contact the UPenn BEAT staff, email us.

BEAT's History

From 2008 to 2012, the BEAT Institute offered an intensive week long training for researchers and practitioners to teach them tangible skills that could be used to measure many of the aspects of the built environment believed to have an effect on health. Then in 2013, the Institute hosted a built environment think tank meeting with experts from different disciplines to define the state of the science and strategize for the future. The think tank 's efforts culminated in a 2015 American Journal of Preventive Medicine theme issue titled “Built Environment Assessment and Interventions for Obesity Prevention: Moving the Field Forward."

Funding and Collaborators

The BEAT Institute website and ongoing work is currently supported by the University of Pennsylvania Prevention Research Center.

From 2010-2015, the Institute was funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, 2007-55215-17924 and 2010-85215-20659, with collaboration from the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Health Behavior Research, the Emory Prevention Research Center, the University of Washington Prevention Research Center, the University of San Diego and San Diego State University Prevention Research Center and the Harvard Prevention Research Center.

We often get requests for materials, and this site is active for those who wish to access this information.