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Sanae Inagami, MD MPH, Health Services Research, VAGLA Health Care System, 11301 Wilshire Blvd, Division of General Internal medicine (111G), Los Angeles, CA 90073, 310-478-3711, email@example.com, Deborah Cohen, MD MPH, Health, RAND Corporation, 1776 Main Street, PO Box 2138, Santa Monica, CA 90407, Tamara Dubowitz, ScD, Graduate School of Public Health/Center for Minority Health, University of Pittsburgh, 125 Parran Hall, 130 Desoto Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, and Steven Asch, MD, Department of General Internal Medicine, Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System, 11301 Wilshire Blvd., Bldg. 500 - Room 3244, Mailstop: 111-G, Los Angeles, CA 90073.
BACKGROUND: Residential neighborhood disadvantage has been associated with increased body mass index (BMI) in individuals, with a disproportionate number of Latinos and African-Americans affected. Individuals have higher BMI when living in areas where residents frequent grocery stores located in lower socioeconomic areas. We hypothesized that residents in these areas with greater interactions with their neighbors may have even higher BMI as they may be more greatly influenced by their neighbors. METHODS: We linked the 2000 US Census data with the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Study (L.A.FANS) database, consisting of 2620 adults sampled from 65 neighborhoods in Los Angeles. “Neighbor familiarity” was assessed using a five-item scale related to the respondent's association with his/her neighbors. Multilevel linear regressions were used to estimate associations between BMI and “neighbor familiarity” and quality of grocery stores after adjustment for individual factors and neighborhood SES. RESULTS: Individual perception of neighborhood safety and social cohesion are inversely related to whether individuals interact with their neighbors. Greater interaction with neighbors is associated with increased BMI (p=0.012). Native Latinos and African-Americans who are more familiar with their neighbors, who frequent grocery stores in lower SES areas, had higher BMI than would be expected from the independent effects of each (p=0.042,p=0.002). CONCLUSIONS: The roots of obesity may lie in social patterning of health behavior and may explain why Latinos and African-Americans are disproportionately affected. Obesity, viewed within the contagion paradigm, may require interventions at the level of the neighborhood to effect change at the level of the individual.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner) in this session will be able to
Keywords: Obesity, Minority Health
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Any relevant financial relationships? No
The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA