245191 Youth and parent safety perceptions of environmental resources for physical activity in low-income housing developments

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Chloe Franklin, MPH , Department of Health Disparities Research, University of MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Loren Bryant, MS , Department of Health Disparities Research, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Jacqueline Reese-Smith, PhD , Department of Health Disparities Research, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Lorna H. McNeill, PhD, MPH , Department of Health Disparities Research, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Perceived safety is associated with lower rates of physical activity (PA) among families who reside in low socioeconomic status (SES) neighborhoods. African Americans (AA) who reside in low-income neighborhoods are likely to report lower rates of PA, and are more likely to perceive their neighborhood as unsafe for their children. Therefore, it is essential to understand how neighborhood characteristics influence PA decision making among AAs living in lower-income neighborhoods. Family VOICE is a qualitative study designed to better understand environmental influences on PA among families residing in predominately AA, low-income public housing developments. We also examined the role of perceived neighborhood safety on PA participation. AA families recruited from six housing developments in Texas, participated in in-depth parent interviews (n=29) and youth focus groups (n=4). Families (n=14; one youth and one parent) also participated in a Photovoice project, a creative participatory research method to highlight communities' strengths and weaknesses through photography, to describe their views of the available neighborhood PA resources. Participants frequently perceived PA resources as dangerous and undesirable for children according to photographs and interviews. Perceived safety concerns included presence of transient populations, incivilities (e.g. stray dogs, litter, and abandoned properties), and drug/gang activity. Families endorsed policies and programs targeting community connectedness and sustainable programs as pathways to increase neighborhood safety. Future advocacy efforts should target policies of local governments, community organizations, and housing development resident councils to address neighborhood perceived safety and PA.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify neighborhood perceived safety concerns related to PA resources among African American youth and parents residing in low-income housing developments Describe perceived safety concerns of African American residents of low-income housing developments qualitatively, through photographs and corresponding interviews

Keywords: Physical Activity, Safety

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I work with underserved populations and the prevention of chronic diseases in the department of Health Disparities Research at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center.
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.