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  • Author: Meliha Salahuddin x
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Nicole E. Nicksic, Meliha Salahuddin, Nancy F. Butte and Deanna M. Hoelscher

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.

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Meliha Salahuddin, Eileen Nehme, Nalini Ranjit, Young-Jae Kim, Abiodun O. Oluyomi, Diane Dowdy, Chanam Lee, Marcia Ory and Deanna M. Hoelscher


The role of parents’ perceptions of the neighborhood environment in determining children’s active commuting to and from school (ACS) is understudied. This study examined the association between parents’ perceptions of neighborhood social cohesion, perceived neighborhood safety, and their children’s ACS.


This cross-sectional analysis (n = 857 from 81 elementary schools in Texas) examined baseline data from the Texas Childhood Obesity Prevention Policy Evaluation project. Participants had a mean age of 9.6 (0.6) years, and 50% were girls. Mixed effects logistic regression models were used to assess gender-stratified associations between parent’s perceived social cohesion and children’s ACS and their perception of neighborhood safety.


A positive significant association was observed between levels of perceived social cohesion and children’s ACS for boys (P = 0.047); however, an inverse significant association was observed among girls (P = 0.033). Parents of boys living in neighborhoods with medium to high social cohesion were more likely to perceive their neighborhood as safe compared with parents living in neighborhoods with low social cohesion, though nonsignificant. Perceived neighborhood safety for walking and biking was associated with greater ACS among boys (P = 0.003).


Our study findings indicate that both social and physical environments are important factors in determining ACS among boys.