142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

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Longitudinal and cross-sectional association of park access with weight status

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 3:10 PM - 3:30 PM

Susan H. Babey, PhD , Center for Health Policy Research, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Yueyan Wang, PhD , UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Melanie Levy , UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Joelle Wolstein, MPP , Center for Health Policy Research, Fielding School of Public Health, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Background: Research suggests that people who live near parks and open spaces are more physically active and have reduced risk of obesity. However, much of the existing research is cross-sectional which limits our ability to draw causal conclusions. This research examined the longitudinal association of objectively measured park availability with changes in weight status over approximately 6 years.

Methods:  We used data from Waves 1 and 2 of the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey (LAFANS), a multi-level, population-based survey of individuals living in Los Angeles County administered from 2000-2002 and 2006-2008, respectively. Data from the California Protected Areas Database was cross-referenced with 2001 land use data from the Southern California Association of Governments to identify park space. Multilevel regression models examined the cross-sectional and longitudinal association of park availability with Body Mass Index (BMI) adjusting for age, gender, race/ethnicity and household income and accounting for clustering at the census tract.

Results:  In cross-sectional analyses four park access indicators were negatively associated with BMI. However, in longitudinal analyses, few associations were significant. Results were suggestive of a longitudinal association between park density in the census tract (number of parks per square mile) and BMI with increasing park density being associated with lower BMI at Wave 2 (p<0.07).

Conclusions: The current results suggest there may be inconsistencies between associations found in cross-sectional analyses and those found in longitudinal analyses. However, these results provide some evidence that increasing density of parks can contribute to reduced BMI over 6 years. 

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the health risks associated with obesity Identify factors associated with changes in BMI Discuss the relationship between access to parks and obesity

Keyword(s): Built Environment, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a senior research scientist at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. For the past twelve years I have directed research examining the social and environmental factors related to overweight and obesity, chronic health conditions, and health-related behaviors such as physical activity, and dietary behavior. I have served as PI or investigator on many research projects and am currently studying the impact of neighborhood environments on obesity and health.
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.