206340 Physical activity friendliness of neighborhoods, weight status, and blood pressure in children

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 9:15 AM

Janet C. Meininger, PhD, RN, FAAN , School of Nursing, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX
Physical activity friendliness refers to features of the built environment that are conducive to physical activity or present obstacles to it. A cross-sectional prevalence study of cardiovascular risk factors with children in kindergarten through sixth grade was conducted in three schools in an urban area in southeastern U.S. Census block groups (n=17) in which the children resided were selected for environmental audit of physical activity friendliness using the St. Louis Environmental Audit. Data from the 2000 Census at the block group level included percent of families with children living in poverty and percent of adults with more than a high school education. It was hypothesized that higher physical activity friendliness scores would be associated with 1) lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure, 2) lower BMI, and 3) lower levels of poverty and higher levels of education. The sample of 934 children was 70% Hispanic, 24% African American; 29% had >/= 95th percentile of BMI and 9.1% had prehypertension or hypertension. Mixed effects regression models were used to control for clustering effects of children's risk factors within block groups. Findings partially supported the first hypothesis; medium versus higher scores on physical activity friendliness were associated with higher diastolic blood pressure. Hypothesis 2 that higher physical activity friendliness scores would be associated with lower BMI was supported. Hypothesis 3 was supported; higher physical activity friendliness scores were associated with lower poverty and higher educational levels. Our findings can facilitate identifying appropriate environmental targets for interventions to prevent obesity and hypertension in children.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe a method for assessing the physical activity friendliness of neighborhoods. 2. Analyze the association of physical activity friendliness scores with cardiovascular risk factors in school-age children.

Keywords: Public Health Research, Child Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator on this research project and Lee and J.D. Jamail Distinguished Professor Nursing Systems, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Nursing.expertise span nursing and epidemiology. I bring methodological expertise as well as knowledge and research experience on the interaction between the genetic and environmental origins of cardiovascular risk factors. My programmatic research on cardiovascular risk reduction over the lifespan began with a twin-family study, initially funded as a "New Investigator" award by NIH and a subsequent ROl award to follow the twins and their parents through adolescence. Subsequent studies included ethnic differences in adolescent blood pressure, lifestyle interventions to lower blood pressure in adults with stage-one hypertension,and cardiovascular risk factors in youths with diabetes. In a current project, which is a partnership between a school district and university, we are using community-based participatory research methods directed at the prevention of obesity in school-age children. All of this research has been conducted by interdisciplinary teams and published in nursing and interdisciplinary journals. I am active in national research and professional organizations.
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.