244170 Sex Matters: Impact of Neighborhood Physical and Social Environments on Adolescent Physical Activity and Obesity

Monday, October 31, 2011: 12:50 PM

Katherine P. Theall, PhD , Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health, New Orleans, LA
Stephanie Broyles, PhD , Population Sciences, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA
Kathryn M. Parker, MPH , Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health, New Orleans, LA
Aubrey Madkour, PhD , Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA
Background: While few studies have reported community or neighborhood differences in health outcomes across sexes, increasing evidence suggests that neighborhood social and built environments can and do affect males and females differently.

Objective: To examine whether select physical and social neighborhood environments and their association with physical activity and obesity is moderated by sex.

Methods: We conducted multilevel analyses, weighted for sampling, among 9887 adolescents (age 12 to 20) in the georeferenced National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999-2006.

Results: Even after accounting for household physical activity and dietary behaviors, adolescents living in neighborhoods with greater unhealthy food availability and crime risk, and lower social capital reported significantly less physical activity and were more likely to be obese. Estimated effects of crime risk on physical activity and obesity were modified by gender. Girls living in neighborhoods with elevated crime risk were less likely to engage in vigorous to moderate weekly physical activity (adjusted odds ratio, aOR=0.74, 95% CI = 0.59, 0.92) and more likely to be obese (aOR=1.27, 95% CI = 1.02, 1.58) compared to girls living in neighborhoods with lower crime risk. However, crime risk was not associated with physical activity or obesity among boys.

Conclusion: Differences in physical activity and obesity among adolescents may be partially explained by characteristics of the neighborhood environment. Findings are consistent with the hypothesis that neighborhood environments may affect a range of behavioral and health outcomes. Furthermore, girls' physical activity and obesity levels may be more affected by the social environment than boys.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Define and differentiate between different methods for measuring neighborhood physical and social environments. 2. Describe the direct and indirect roles of the neighborhood environment in producing behavioral and health outcomes. 3. Explain multilevel study designs and analyses.

Keywords: Community, Children and Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted the research and am involved in similar research projects.
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.