142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Association of individual-level and neighborhood-level social capital with changes in BMI

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 9:30 AM - 9:50 AM

Susan H. Babey, PhD , Center for Health Policy Research, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Joelle Wolstein, MPP , Center for Health Policy Research, Fielding School of Public Health, UCLA, 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
Background: Previous research suggests that the neighborhood social environment is associated with health outcomes including weight status and cardiovascular health. For example, lower levels of community collective efficacy have been associated with overweight and obesity. However, there has been little research examining whether the neighborhood social environment is related to longitudinal changes in health and weight status.

Methods: Data are from Waves 1 and 2 of the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey (LAFANS), a multi-level, population-based survey of individuals sampled from 65 neighborhoods in Los Angeles County administered from 2000-2002 and 2006-2008, respectively. We examine the longitudinal association of individual- and neighborhood-level social capital with adult BMI. Measures of social capital included social cohesion (an indicator of trust among neighbors), social exchange (an indicator of reciprocity among neighbors), and intergenerational ties (an indicator of connections between adults and children). Measures were constructed at the individual level and also aggregated at the neighborhood level (census tract).

Results: Longitudinal multilevel regression models adjusting for age, gender, race/ethnicity, and household income and accounting for clustering at the census tract indicated that higher neighborhood-level social cohesion, social exchange and intergenerational closure were associated with decreases in BMI. However, none of the individual-level indicators of social capital were associated with changes in BMI over time.

Discussion: Neighborhood-level indicators of social capital longitudinally predicted changes in BMI, whereas individual-level indicators did not. These findings suggest that neighborhood-level social characteristics can be an important long-term determinant of weight status among residents.

Learning Areas:

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

Learning Objectives:
Describe several indicators of neighborhood social capital including social cohesion and social exchange Identify factors associated with overweight and obesity Discuss the relationship between social capital and changes in weight status

Keyword(s): Obesity, Environmental Health

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.