The population effect of crime and neighbourhood on physical activity: An analysis of 15 461 adults

Evidence for Population Health Unit, Epidemiology & Health Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, UK.
Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health (Impact Factor: 3.5). 02/2007; 61(1):34-9. DOI: 10.1136/jech.2006.048389
Source: PubMed


Area-based interventions offer the potential to increase physical activity for many sedentary people in countries such as the UK. Evidence on the effect of individual and area/neighbourhood influences on physical activity is in its infancy, and despite its value to policy makers a population focus is rarely used. Data from a population-based health and lifestyle survey of adults in northwest England were used to analyse associations between individual and neighbourhood perceptions and physical activity. The population effect of eliminating a risk factor was expressed as a likely effect on population levels of physical activity. Of the 15,461 responders, 21,923 (27.1%) were physically active. Neighbourhood perceptions of leisure facilities were associated with physical activity, but no association was found for sense of belonging, public transport or shopping facilities. People who felt safe in their neighbourhood were more likely to be physically active, but no associations were found for vandalism, assaults, muggings or experience of crime. The number of physically active people would increase by 3290 if feelings of "unsafe" during the day were removed, and by 11,237 if feelings of "unsafe" during the night were removed. An additional 8342 people would be physically active if everyone believed that they were "very well placed for leisure facilities". Feeling safe had the potential largest effect on population levels of physical activity. Strategies to increase physical activity in the population need to consider the wider determinants of health-related behaviour, including fear of crime and safety.

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    • "This is important to examine as research has documented that some barriers, such as safety, are more of a concern for women than for men. There is also evidence from past research that men are more likely to use walking than women323334, highlighting the importance of examining sex differences in perceived barriers to walking. Household income is defined in this study based on low-income cut-offs (LICO) as published by Statistics Canada [35]. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigates perceived barriers to walking using data collected from 179 randomly-selected adults between the ages of 18 and 92 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. A survey (Hamilton Active Living Study) asked questions about socio-demographics, walking, and barriers to walking. A series of binary logit models are estimated for twenty potential barriers to walking. The results demonstrate that different barriers are associated with different sub-groups of the population. Females, senior citizens, and those with a higher body mass index identify the most barriers to walking, while young adults, parents, driver's license owners, and bus pass owners identify the fewest barriers. Understanding who is affected by perceived barriers can help policy makers and health promotion agencies target sub-groups of the population in an effort to increase walking.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2016 · International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
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    • "In employing these and other similar definitions, studies have shown a strong relationship between neighbourhood of residence and a number of health outcomes including low birth weight and infant mortality (Buka et al., 2003; O'campo et al., 1997; Szwarcwald et al., 2002), self-rated health (Wen et al., 2006; Patel et al., 2003; Kawachi et al., 1999), cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions including coronary heart disease (Sundquist et al., 2004; Diez-Roux et al., 1997), stress, and depression (Matheson et al., 2006; Boardman et al., 2001). In addition, neighbourhood contextual characteristics have also been shown to influence health related behaviours, such as smoking (Frohlich et al., 2002; Duncan et al., 1999; Kleinschmidt et al., 1995), alcohol consumption (Stockdale et al., 2007; Pollack et al., 2005; Duncan et al., 2002), diet (Morland et al., 2002; Lee and Cubbin, 2002; Ecob and Macintyre, 2000), and physical activity (Harrison et al., 2007; Fisher et al., 2004; Giles-Corti and Donovan, 2002). "

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    • "249). Specifically, they reported that, in 17 studies of adults, higher perceptions of crime problems (e.g., fear, risk) were associated with lower levels of reported PA (Booth et al., 2000; Carnegie et al., 2002; De Bourdeaudhuij et al., 2003; Eyler et al., 2003; Foster et al., 2004; Giles-Corti and Donovan, 2002; Harrison et al., 2007; Hooker et al., 2005; Li et al., 2005; Mota et al., 2007; Piro et al., 2006; Ross, 2000; Shenassa et al., 2006; Vest and AM, 2005; Weinstein et al., 1999; Wilbur et al., 2003a; Wilcox et al., 2003). However, no significant relationships were reported in 16 studies (Ainsworth et al., 2003; Ball et al., 2007; Brownson et al., 2001; Duncan and Mummery, 2005; Evenson et al., 2003; Hoehner et al., 2005; Huston et al., 2003; King et al., 2000; Lim and Taylor, 2005; Parks et al., 2003; Sallis et al., 1997; Troped et al., 2003; Voorhees and Young, 2003; Wilbur et al., 2003b; Wilcox et al., 2000; Young and Voorhees, 2003). "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: The current cross-sectional study tests whether low perceived crime safety is associated with body mass index (BMI) and obesity risk and whether less moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) accounts for part of this relationship. Method: Adults (n=864) from a relatively low-income and ethnically mixed neighborhood in Salt Lake City UT (2012) were assessed for perceived crime safety, objective physical activity, and BMI measures. Results: This neighborhood had lower perceived safety than for other published studies utilizing this safety measure. In a mediation test, lower perceived crime safety was significantly associated with higher BMI and greater risk of obesity, net of control variables. Residents with lower perceived safety had less MVPA. Lower MVPA partially explained the relationship between less safety and both elevated BMI and higher obesity risk, suggesting that perceiving less crime safety limits MVPA which, in turn, increases weight. Conclusion: In this neighborhood, with relatively low perceived safety from crime, residents' low perceived safety is related to more obesity and higher BMI; lower MVPA among residents explained part of this relationship. If residents are to become more active in their neighborhood it may be important to address perceived crime safety as part of broader efforts to enhance active living.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Preventive Medicine
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