181456 Neighborhood safety, community perceptions, and satisfaction with community resources among Latinas from a U.S.-Mexico border community

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Andrea Maricella Aguirre, BA , Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
Guadalupe Ayala, PhD, MPH , Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
Kevin Patrick, MD, MS , San Diego Prevention Research Center, University of CA, San Diego, La Jolla, CA
John P. Elder, PhD, MPH , Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
Neighborhood perceptions are critical in determining whether people use community resources, like parks or recreation centers, for engaging in physical activity [PA]. Studies have shown that women who perceived their neighborhoods as safe from crime or as having places to exercise were more likely to engage in PA than those who had opposite opinions. The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact that neighborhood safety has on Latina's perception of community resources and how this affects their use of parks and levels of PA. This study represents a convenience sample of 107 Latinas, recruited to date, in a U.S.-Mexico border community of San Diego, California. The mean age of the participants is 43 years and 83% were born in Mexico. Participants were recruited at health fairs and through print, television, and radio advertisements. Measurements were obtained from a self-administered survey of 38 questions regarding neighborhood safety (á=.62), community perceptions (á=.69), and satisfaction with community resources (á=.59). The results of the study show a correlation between neighborhood safety, satisfaction with community resources, and perceptions of a supportive environment. Women who perceived their neighborhoods as safer were more satisfied with community resources (p<.01) and perceived their environments as more supportive of PA (p<.01). However, neighborhood safety was not related to frequency of park use in a typical month or with the number of different parks used for PA in the same month. Findings of the study suggest that perceptions of safety are related to environmental quality indicators but not behavior.

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants will understand the significance of neighborhood safety and the impact it has on the utilization of community resources. 2. Participants will learn about Latina’s perceptions regarding what constitutes an environment supportive of physical activity. 3. Participants will evaluate methods by which to increase physical activity in U.S.-Mexico border town populations who are satisfied with their community resources and who deem their communities as safe.

Keywords: Latinas, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a student at the San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health presenting my current thesis project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.