142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

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Associations of neighborhood greenness with objectivity measured physical activity in urban and rural middle school youth

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014 : 10:50 AM - 11:10 AM

Gina Besenyi, MPH , Department of Health Promotion Education and Behavior, University of South Carolina, Arnold School of Public Health, Columbia, SC
Justin B. Moore, PhD, MS, FACSM , Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Kevin Remington , University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Andrew T. Kaczynski, Ph.D. , Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Introduction: Green neighborhoods may be important for promoting youth physical activity (PA) by supporting an active community design. However, little research has simultaneously explored multiple measures of greenness or differences between urban and rural youth. This study examined relationships between normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), tree canopy, and land cover with objectively-measured PA in urban and rural youth.

Methods: PA data were collected for urban and rural middle-school youth (n=303) in 2 counties in North Carolina using ActiGraph accelerometers set at 30-second epochs. Average sedentary, light, and moderate-to-vigorous (MVPA) minutes/day were calculated for youth with four, 10-hour valid wear days. ArcGIS10 was used to calculate mean NDVI, tree canopy, and percentage low (20-49%), medium (50-79%), and high (80-100%) developed land cover for each participant’s 0.5-mile network neighborhood. Stratifying by urban versus rural, multiple linear regression examined associations between each neighborhood greenness measure and PA variable.

Results: Rural youth averaged more sedentary (630 min/day) and light (382 min/day) but less MVPA (27 min/day) activity than urban youth (586, 323, 31 min/day respectively). There were no significant associations between greenness measures and PA for urban youth. However, among rural youth, the percentage of low intensity developed land cover was negatively associated with average sedentary minutes/day (β=-.037,p<0.05), while percentage of tree canopy was positively associated with MVPA (β=0.15,p<0.05).

Conclusion/Discussion: Neighborhood greenness may be a vital quality of active neighborhoods. Future research should explore the specific dimensions of developed and green environments that contribute to greater PA and health among youth from diverse settings.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Explain the importance of neighborhood greenness for youth physical activity. Identify multiple methods of measuring neighborhood greenness using geographic information systems. Discuss differences of the effects of neighborhood greenness on physical activity in urban and rural youth.

Keyword(s): Physical Activity, Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral candidate in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. My research focuses on how built environment attributes and community design promote healthy eating and active living, especially among youth. I have been a project manager on several research studies and co-authored numerous manuscripts, abstracts, and grants. Additionally, I have instructed physical activity and public health-related courses at the collegiate level.
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.