Associations Between Parent-Perceived Neighborhood Safety and Encouragement and Child Outdoor Physical Activity Among Low-Income Children

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: A growing body of research has examined the relationship between perceived neighborhood safety and parental encouragement for child physical activity (PA), yet these potential predictors have not been studied together to predict child outdoor PA. The purpose of this study is to examine these predictors and parent- and child-reported child outdoor PA. Methods: The Texas Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration study collected data from fifth-grade students attending 31 elementary schools across Austin and Houston and their parents (N = 748 parent–child dyads). Mixed-effects linear and logistic regressions stratified by gender and adjusted for sociodemographic covariates assessed associations among parental-perceived neighborhood safety, parental encouragement for child’s outdoor PA, and parent- and child-reported child’s outdoor PA. Results: Parental-perceived neighborhood safety was significantly associated with encouraging outdoor PA (P = .01) and child-reported child’s outdoor PA in boys, but not in girls. Significant associations were found between parental encouragement and child-reported outdoor PA for girls (P < .05) and parent-reported outdoor PA (P < .01) for boys and girls. Conclusions: Parent encouragement of PA and neighborhood safety are potential predictors of child outdoor PA and could be targeted in youth PA interventions.

Nicksic is with the School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), Austin, TX. Salahuddin and Hoelscher are with the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), Austin, TX. Butte is with the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Dept of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX. Nicksic and Salahuddin were the lead authors and contributed equally to this manuscript.

Nicksic (nenicksic@vcu.edu) is corresponding author.
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