Background: Growing evidence suggests that the broader neighborhood socioeconomic environment is independently associated with cardiometabolic health. However, few studies have examined this relationship among younger populations. Purpose: The purpose of the study was to (1) investigate the association between neighborhood socioeconomic deprivation (SED) and cardiorespiratory fitness and (2) determine the extent to which physical activity mediates this relationship. Methods: Data from 312 youth (aged 12–15 y) were obtained from the 2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey National Youth Fitness Survey. Cardiorespiratory fitness was measured using a standard submaximal treadmill test, and maximal oxygen consumption was estimated. Physical activity was self-reported time spent in moderate to vigorous activity. Neighborhood SED was measured by a composite index score at the census tract of residence. Logistic regression analyses examined relationships between neighborhood SED, physical activity, and cardiorespiratory fitness, adjusting for individual-level characteristics and the complex sampling design. Results: Neighborhood SED was not significantly associated with cardiorespiratory fitness or physical activity among youth in the study sample. Conclusions: While not significant, cardiorespiratory fitness levels were observed to decrease as neighborhood SED increased. Future research is needed to better understand this relationship and to identify underlying mechanisms beyond fitness or physical activity that may drive the relationship between neighborhood SED and health.
Clennin and Pate are with the Department of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. Clennin is also with the Institute for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Colorado, Denver, CO.