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Neighborhood Effects on Individual Health in Taiwan in the Years of 1990, 1995, and 2000

Ying-Chih Chuang, PHD, Yu Sheng Li, BPH, Chuan Chi Hung, MPH, and Yi Hua Wu, MPH. Graduate Institute of Public Health, Taipei Medical University, 250 Wu-Hsing St, Taipei, 110, Taiwan, 886-2-27361661 ext 6527, yingchih@tmu.edu.tw

There is an increasing number of studies focusing on neighborhood effects on individual health. However, few studies have examined whether the association between neighborhood characteristics and individual health becomes stronger in recent years. This study examined whether neighborhood characteristics are associated with individual health in Taiwan in the years of 1990 (N=2531), 1995 (N=2031), and 2000 (N=1895). The data came from the 1990, 1985, 2000 Taiwan Social Change Study. Participants' residential addresses were geocoded with the 1990 and 2000 Census Tracts for measuring neighborhood characteristics, including neighborhood socioeconomic status, residential mobility, percentage of elderly, percentage of people with functional limitation, and urbanicity/ruality. For the 1995 survey, neighborhood characteristics were constructed using linear interpolation. Individual health status was measured by physical function, self-rated health, and number of chronic diseases. We used multi-level models with Glimmix procedure to conduct the analyses. Preliminary results showed that in the year of 2000, neighborhoods with a higher percentage of elderly and a higher percentage of people with functional limitation were associated with individual poorer self-rated health and poorer individual functional limitations after adjusting for individual-level characteristics. However, the 1990 data showed no significant results on the relationship between neighborhoods and individual health. Further analyses will be conducted for the year of 1995 to understand whether neighborhood effects increase from 1990, 1995, to 2000. The preliminary results suggest that improving neighborhood context is more critical in recent years than in the 90's, particularly in the neighborhoods where most residents are elderly or have functional limitations.

Learning Objectives:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

Social Epidemiology and Minority Health

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA