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Sandra E. Echeverria, Amiee Luan Kang, Carmen R. Isasi, Janice Johnson-Dias and Dula Pacquiao

Background:

Neighborhoods can be an important feature of the built environment influencing physical activity; however, neighborhood poverty and violence may pose significant barriers for youth physical activity. We conducted a community survey of 107 households with youth 3–12 years of age in select neighborhoods of the city of Newark, New Jersey, a highly impoverished and racially/ethnically segregated city of the United States.

Results:

The majority of sampled households did not have access to a park, and nearly 60% of youth were not engaged in a team or organized physical activity program. Hearing gunshots and seeing drug deals in the neighborhood were reported by 74% and 56%, respectively, of study participants. In adjusted regression models, a 1-unit increase in self-reported neighborhood safety was associated with perceptions that parks were safe for youth to use (OR = 1.7, CI = 1.3, 2.3) and increased odds of youth using parks (OR = 1.3, CI = 1.0, 1.6). Self-reported neighborhood violence was marginally associated with lower levels of Metabolic Equivalent (MET)-min/week of moderate PA (β = –54.25, P = .05).

Conclusion:

To ensure national goals of increased physical activity and use of outdoor spaces, addressing the neighborhood contexts under which the most vulnerable of our youth live will be required.

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Elizabeth Vásquez, Garrett Strizich, Linda Gallo, Simon J. Marshall, Gina C. Merchant, Rosenda Murillo, Frank J. Penedo, Christian Salazar, Daniela Sotres-Alvarez, Benjamin A. Shaw and Carmen R. Isasi

Background:

Chronic stress and/or lifetime traumatic stress can create a self-reinforcing cycle of unhealthy behaviors, such as overeating and sedentary behavior, that can lead to further increases in stress. This study examined the relationship between stress and sedentary behavior in a sample of Hispanic/Latino adults (N = 4244) from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos Sociocultural Ancillary Study.

Methods:

Stress was measured as the number of ongoing difficulties lasting 6 months or more and as lifetime exposure to traumatic events. Sedentary behavior was measured by self-report and with accelerometer. Multivariable regression models examined associations of stress measures with time spent in sedentary behaviors adjusting by potential confounders.

Results:

Those who reported more than one chronic stressor spent, on average, 8 to 10 additional minutes per day in objectively measured sedentary activities (P < .05), whereas those with more than one lifetime traumatic stressor spent (after we adjusted for confounders) 10 to 14 additional minutes in sedentary activities (P < .01) compared with those who did not report any stressors. Statistical interactions between the 2 stress measures and age or sex were not significant.

Conclusion:

Interventions aimed at reducing sedentary behaviors might consider incorporating stress reduction into their approaches.