Neighborhood Perceptions Affect Dietary Behaviors and Diet Quality

Department of Nutrition Sciences and Clinical Nutrition Research Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL, USA.
Journal of nutrition education and behavior (Impact Factor: 1.36). 09/2010; 43(4):244-50. DOI: 10.1016/j.jneb.2009.07.004
Source: PubMed


The primary purpose of this study was to determine if perceived neighborhood disorder affected dietary quality within a multiethnic sample of children.
Children were recruited through the use of fliers, wide-distribution mailers, parent magazines, and school presentations from June 2005 to December 2008.
Birmingham-Hoover, Alabama metropolitan area.
Sample of 100 children aged 7 to 12 years.
Dietary quality was assessed using the average of two 24-hour recalls and analyzed using the Nutrition Data System for Research.
Multivariate linear regression analyses were conducted to assess the relationship between neighborhood disorder and dietary quality.
Perceived neighborhood disorder was associated with increased iron intake (P = .03) and lower potassium levels (P = .04). Perceived neighborhood disorder was not significantly associated with increased energy intake (P = .07) and increased sodium intake (P = .08).
Perceived neighborhood disorder was significantly related to differences in dietary quality. This finding indicates that subjective neighborhood characteristics may pose barriers to healthful eating behaviors for children. Future research efforts and policy should address sociostructural factors and ways to manipulate and improve food environments and individuals' perceptions of their neighborhoods.

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Available from: Jose Fernandez, Jan 26, 2014
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    • "The relationship between higher rates of overweight and obesity in populations with poor socioeconomic conditions is well established in developed and many developing countries [35,36]. Furthermore, studies show that individuals living in socially disadvantaged neighborhoods, which tend to be characterized by insecure and dangerous environments, present a higher risk of having unhealthy behaviors [37-40] with respect to diet [41,42] or physical activity [43-46]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Obesity is a significant global public health problem and the main cause of many chronic diseases in both developed and developing countries. The increase in obesity in different populations worldwide cannot be explained solely by metabolic and genetic factors; environmental and social factors also have a strong association with obesity. Thus, it is believed that the current obesity epidemic is the result of a complex combination of genetic factors and an obesogenic environment .The purpose of this study was to evaluate individual variables and variables within the built and social environment for their potential association with overweight and obesity in an urban Brazilian population. Cross-sectional study was carried out in a sample of 3404 adults living in the urban area of the city. Information from the surveillance system for chronic diseases of Brazilian Ministry of Health was used and individual data was collected by telephone interviews. The database was geocoded using the Brazilian System of Postal Codes for participant residences. An updated, existing list based on the current addresses of supermarkets and hypermarkets in the city was used as an indicator variable of the availability and access to food. Georeferenced information on parks, public squares, places for practicing physical activity and the population density were also used to create data on the built environment. To characterize the social environment, we used the health vulnerability index (HVI) and georeferenced data for homicide locations. The prevalence was 44% for overweight, poisson regression was used to create the final model. The environment variables that independently associated with overweight were the highest population density, very high health vulnerability index and the homicide rate adjusted for individuals variables. The results of the current study illustrate and confirm some important associations between individual and environmental variables and overweight in a representative sample of adults in the Brazilian urban context. The social environment variables relating to the socioeconomic deprivation of the neighborhood and the built environment variables relating to higher walkability were significantly associated with overweight and obesity in Belo Horizonte.
    BMC Public Health 10/2013; 13(1):988. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-13-988 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    • "Because physical activity did not appear to mediate the association of perceived neighborhood disorder and obesity, future research should analyze the additional neighborhood disorder pathway of diet, which is a key component of the perceived neighborhood disorder conceptual model outlined by Burdette and Hill [32]. Fast food density and grocery store access, and fruit and vegetable availability are known to differ by neighborhood context [50-55] and these neighborhood features are associated with poorer diet quality and adolescent obesity [56,57]. An exploration of the relationship to diet in conjunction with the neighborhood pathway through physical activity may provide more evidence for the mechanisms through which perceived neighborhood disorder affects adolescent obesity. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background According to recent research studies, the built and socioeconomic contexts of neighborhoods are associated with African American adolescents’ participation in physical activity and obesity status. However, few research efforts have been devoted to understand how African American adolescents’ perceptions of their neighborhood environments may affect physical activity behaviors and obesity status. The objective of the current study was to use a perceived neighborhood disorder conceptual framework to examine whether physical activity mediated the relationship between perceived neighborhood disorder and obesity status among African American adolescents. Methods The data were obtained from a cross-sectional study that examined social and cultural barriers and facilitators of physical activity among African American adolescents. The study included a sample of 101 African American adolescents age 12 to 16 years and their parents who were recruited from the Birmingham, Alabama metropolitan area. The primary outcome measure was obesity status which was classified using the International Obesity Task Force cut off points. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity was assessed via accelerometry. Perceived neighborhood disorder was assessed using the Perceived Neighborhood Disorder Scale. Mediation models were used to examine whether the relationship between neighborhood disorder and obesity status was mediated by physical activity. Results Perceived neighborhood disorder was significantly and positively related to obesity status and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity was inversely associated with obesity status. However, there was no evidence to support a significant mediating effect of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity on the relationship between neighborhood disorder and obesity status. Conclusion Future studies should longitudinally assess perceived neighborhood disorder characteristics and childhood adiposity to examine the timing, extent, and the mechanisms by which perceived neighborhood disorder characteristics increase the risk of obesity.
    BMC Public Health 05/2013; 13(1):440. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-13-440 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The current study presents a case in which adolescent prosociality is lower in neighborhoods with greater physical disorder. Current theory provides two interpretations for such a pattern: (1) that disorder signals a threatening environment and discourages prosociality ("broken windows theory"); (2) that disorder and low prosociality are both symptoms of a weak community (i.e., low collective efficacy). A survey of 642 students from a small American city was combined with an assessment of the built environment to evaluate these two interpretations. Students were nested in 59 Census block groups. Multilevel models demonstrated that collective efficacy best explained variation in prosociality between neighborhoods, and that perceived collective efficacy best explained variation within neighborhoods. Objective and perceived disorder had no significant relationship with prosociality in these models, suggesting that disorder is not directly responsible for cross-neighborhood variation in prosociality. The paper discusses the implications for place-based interventions promoting prosociality. The results also emphasize the need for measures of social processes (e.g., collective efficacy) when evaluating "broken windows" hypotheses.
    American Journal of Community Psychology 11/2012; 51(3-4). DOI:10.1007/s10464-012-9555-1 · 1.74 Impact Factor
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