Online Program

An examination of the impact of healthy community design on physical activity and nutrition habits in low income Southern Nevada residents

Monday, November 2, 2015

Courtney Coughenour, PhD, School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV
Mackenzie Burns, PhD, School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV
Research has shown that access to opportunities for physical activity (PA) and healthy eating are associated with improved health behaviors and outcomes.  Low-income communities have disparate access to health-promoting community design features, yet little is known about this phenomenon in Southern Nevada (SNV).  The purpose of the study was to characterize health-promoting community design features and to determine if a relationship exists between select features and self-reported PA levels or nutrition habits in a low income population of SNV residents. Ninety (90) participants (aged 6-94yrs) provided self-report data on PA and nutrition habits; community design features identified through GIS (parks, trail heads, pay-for-use PA facilities, grocery stores, and fast-food outlets) within a one-mile radius of the home were calculated.  Self-report data indicated that the majority of participants failed to reach weekly PA recommendations (85.6%), as well as daily fruit/vegetable intake guidelines (94.4%).  GIS data indicated that access to health-promoting features within a one mile radius (“neighborhoods”) was limited.  The majority of neighborhoods were absent of parks (72.2%), trail heads (36.7%), or pay-for-use PA facilities (47.8%); some neighborhoods did not have any PA promoting features (11.1%).  In terms of nutritional environments, fast-food outlets outnumbered grocery stores that offered fresh produce.  The mean number of fast-food outlets in participating neighborhoods was 10.5 ± 8.7 outlets, while the mean number of grocery stores was 3.6 ± 2.3 stores.  Results indicate that very few residents met PA and nutrition recommendations and that neighborhoods were not health promoting. However, chi-square analyses indicated that access to PA opportunities and grocery stores were not associated with self-reported PA levels and nutrition habits.  This highlights a need for further examination of healthy community design and for health promotion campaigns to increase healthy behaviors in this vulnerable population.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the association between community design and health promoting behaviors in low income residents of Southern Nevada. Describe the supports and barriers to healthy eating and physical activity in a typical community environment of a sample of low income Southern Nevada residents. Discuss the importance of health in all policies as it relates the built environment of low income Southern Nevadans.

Keyword(s): Built Environment, Public Health Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been involved in research exploring the relationship between the built environment, community design, and health for multiple years.
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.