Built and social environments associations with adolescent overweight and activity.

Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455-1015, USA.
American Journal of Preventive Medicine (Impact Factor: 4.28). 09/2006; 31(2):109-17. DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2006.03.026
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Little is known about the patterning of neighborhood characteristics, beyond the basic urban, rural, suburban trichotomy, and its impact on physical activity (PA) and overweight.
Nationally representative data (National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, 1994-1995, n = 20,745) were collected. Weight, height, PA, and sedentary behavior were self-reported. Using diverse measures of the participants' residential neighborhoods (e.g., socioeconomic status, crime, road type, street connectivity, PA recreation facilities), cluster analyses identified homogeneous groups of adolescents sharing neighborhood characteristics. Poisson regression predicted relative risk (RR) of being physically active (five or more bouts/week of moderate to vigorous PA) and overweight (body mass index equal or greater than the 95th percentile, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Center for Health Statistics growth curves).
Six robust neighborhood patterns were identified: (1) rural working class; (2) exurban; (3) newer suburban; (4) upper-middle class, older suburban; (5) mixed-race urban; and (6) low-socioeconomic-status (SES) inner-city areas. Compared to adolescents living in newer suburbs, those in rural working-class (adjusted RR[ARR] = 1.38, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.13-1.69), exurban (ARR = 1.30, CI = 1.04-1.64), and mixed-race urban (ARR = 1.31, CI = 1.05-1.64) neighborhoods were more likely to be overweight, independent of individual SES, age, and race/ethnicity. Adolescents living in older suburban areas were more likely to be physically active than residents of newer suburbs (ARR = 1.11, CI = 1.04-1.18). Those living in low-SES inner-city neighborhoods were more likely to be active, though not significantly so, compared to mixed-race urban residents (ARR = 1.09, CI = 1.00-1.18).
These findings demonstrate disadvantageous associations between specific rural and urban environments and behavior, illustrating important effects of the neighborhood on health and the inherent complexity of assessing residential landscapes across the United States. Simple classical urban-suburban-rural measures mask these important complexities.

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    ABSTRACT: Purpose There is a need for empirical support of the association between the built environment and disability-related outcomes. This study explores the associations between community and neighborhood land uses and community participation among adults with acquired physical disability. Methods Cross-sectional data from 508 community-living, chronically disabled adults in New Jersey were obtained from among participants in national Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems database. Participants’ residential addresses were geocoded to link individual survey data with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data on land use and destinations. The influence of residential density, land use mix, destination counts, and open space on four domains of participation were modeled at two geographic scales—the neighborhood (i.e., half mile buffer) and community (i.e., five mile) using multivariate logistic regression. All analyses were adjusted for demographic and impairment-related differences. Results Living in communities with greater land use mix and more destinations was associated with a decreased likelihood of reporting optimum social and physical activity. Conversely, living in neighborhoods with large portions of open space was positively associated with the likelihood of reporting full physical, occupational, and social participation. Conclusions These findings suggest that the overall living conditions of the built environment may be relevant to social inclusion for persons with physical disabilities.
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