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Nicole E. Nicksic, Meliha Salahuddin, Nancy F. Butte and Deanna M. Hoelscher

happiness. 5 Despite the multiple benefits of outdoor PA, there has been a decline in the prevalence of playing outside among children. 6 – 8 Hence, determining what influences outdoor PA may improve children’s overall PA and health. Neighborhood safety could play an important role in outdoor PA among

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Karla I. Galaviz, Deena Zytnick, Michelle C. Kegler and Solveig A. Cunningham

Background:

We examined the relationship between parents’ perception of neighborhood safety and children’s physical activity and use of recreation facilities in a US nationally representative sample of fifth grade children.

Methods:

We used data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Kindergarten cohort, fifth grade sample (N = 9827). Multivariate logistic and linear regression models were used to examine associations between parents’ perception of neighborhood safety for outside play and number of days children engage in physical activity, as well as children’s use of recreational facilities for physical activity.

Results:

Children who used recreational facilities engaged in physical activity on more days of the week compared with children who did not use a facility (3.3 days vs. 3.8 days, P < .0001). Children from neighborhoods perceived as unsafe by parents engaged in almost 1 less day per week in physical activity (β = –.89, P < .0001). Children from neighborhoods perceived as unsafe were less likely to use recreational facilities compared with children from neighborhoods perceived as safe (odds ratio = 0.72, P < .0001). Children from less affluent families across rural and urban areas had half the odds of using recreational facilities compared with children from the wealthiest families living in urban areas.

Conclusions:

Parents’ perception of neighborhood safety for outside play can deter or promote children’s physical activity and use of recreational facilities. Children from less affluent families are less likely to use facilities than children from wealthy families, regardless of place of residence.

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Alison Carver, Anna Timperio and David Crawford

Background:

The purpose of this study was to examine associations between perceptions of neighborhood safety and physical activity among youth.

Methods:

We completed a cross-sectional study of children age 8 to 9 years (n = 188) and adolescents age 13 to 15 years (n = 346) in areas of varying socioeconomic status in Melbourne, Australia. Parents and adolescents completed questionnaires on perceptions of neighborhood safety. Scores were computed for perceptions of road safety, incivilities, and personal safety of the child or adolescent. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) before or after school, on evenings, and on weekends was recorded using accelerometers.

Results:

There were no associations between parental perceptions of neighborhood safety and children’s MVPA outside school hours. Parental perception of personal safety was positively associated with adolescent boys’ MVPA after school. Adolescent girls’ concern about road safety was negatively associated with their MVPA during evenings and outside school hours.

Conclusion:

Perceptions of neighborhood safety might influence physical activity among youth in different ways according to age group and sex.

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Marianne Nichol, Ian Janssen and William Pickett

Background:

The safety of neighborhoods and availability of parks and facilities may influence adolescent physical activity independently or interactively.

Methods:

9114 Canadians in grades 6 to 10 completed the 2006 Health Behavior in School-Aged Children Survey. The outcome of interest was students’ self-reported participation in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity outside of school. A composite scale based on questions measuring student perceptions of safety was used to capture individual perceptions of safety. In addition, schools were grouped into quintiles based on the mean of the perceived safety scale, used as a proxy for peer perceptions. The number of parks and recreational facilities within 5 km of schools was abstracted from a geographical information system.

Results:

Moderate gradients in physical activity were observed according to individual and group perceptions of safety. Boys and girls with the highest perceptions of safety were 1.31 (95% CI: 1.17−1.45) and 1.45 (1.26−1.65) times more likely to be physically active, respectively, than those with the lowest perceptions. Compared with those who perceived the neighborhood as least safe, elementary students in higher quintiles were 1.31, 1.39, 1.37, and 1.56 times more likely to be physically active (P trend = 0.012). Increased numbers of recreational features were not related to physical activity irrespective of neighborhood safety.

Conclusions:

Individual and group perceptions of neighborhood safety were modestly associated with adolescents’ physical activity.

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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

Background:

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.

Methods:

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.

Results:

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).

Conclusions:

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

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Jason A. Mendoza, Jessica McLeod, Tzu-An Chen, Theresa A. Nicklas and Tom Baranowski

Background:

Childhood obesity is at record high levels in the US and disproportionately affects Latino children; however, studies examining Latino preschool children’s obesity-related risk factors are sparse. This study determined correlates of Latino preschoolers’ (ages 3–5 years) adiposity to inform future obesity interventions and policies.

Methods:

Latino preschoolers (n = 96) from 4 Head Start centers in Houston, Texas were recruited. Parents reported acculturation and neighborhood safety. Children’s and parents’ height and weight were measured. Children’s television (TV) viewing was measured by TV diaries and physical activity by accelerometers. Linear regression was used with body mass index (BMI) z-score as the dependent variable and covariates sequentially added and retained in 4 blocks: 1) child age, gender, parent education, and BMI; 2) neighborhood safety and parent and child acculturation; 3) TV viewing; and 4) moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA).

Results:

In the final model (n = 96), only neighborhood disorder (β = 0.30, P = .005) and MVPA (β = –0.21, P = .049) were significantly associated with BMI z-score.

Conclusions:

Among Latino preschoolers, higher neighborhood disorder and lower MVPA were associated with greater children’s BMI z-scores.

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Lauren M. Rossen, Keshia M. Pollack, Frank C. Curriero, Timothy M. Shields, Mieka J. Smart, C. Debra M. Furr-Holden and Michele Cooley-Strickland

Background:

Walking to school is an important source of physical activity among children. There is a paucity of research exploring environmental determinants of walking to school among children in urban areas.

Methods:

A cross-sectional secondary analysis of baseline data (2007) from 365 children in the “Multiple Opportunities to Reach Excellence” (MORE) Study (8 to 13 years; Mean 9.60 years, SD 1.04). Children and caregivers were asked about walking to school and perceived safety. Objective measures of the environment were obtained using a validated environmental neighborhood assessment.

Results:

Over half (55.83%) of children reported walking to school most of the time. High levels of neighborhood incivilities were associated with lower levels of perceived safety (OR: 0.39, 95% CI: 0.21 to 0.72). Living on a block above the median in incivilities was associated with a 353% increase in odds of walking to school (OR: 3.53; 95% CI: 1.68 to 7.39).

Conclusions:

Children residing in neighborhoods high in incivilities are more likely to walk to school, in spite of lower levels of perceived safety. As a high proportion of children residing in disadvantaged neighborhoods walk to school, efforts should be directed at minimizing exposure to neighborhood hazards by ensuring safe routes to and from school.

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Maria Kosma, David Buchanan and Jan Hondzinski

. In the study by Kelly, Baker, Brownson, and Schootman ( 2007 ), neighborhood safety was one of the top exercise barriers among African American women, whereas individual barriers were rated of lower importance. Similar to other studies (e.g., Sebastião et al., 2015 ; Wilcox et al., 2005 ), safety

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Venurs H.Y. Loh, Jerome N. Rachele, Wendy J. Brown, Fatima Ghani and Gavin Turrell

mobility disabilities . Gerontologist . 2013 ; 53 ( 2 ): 268 – 279 . PubMed doi:10.1093/geront/gns119 23010096 10.1093/geront/gns119 12. Bennett GG , McNeill LH , Wolin KY , Duncan DT , Puleo E , Emmons KM . Safe to walk? Neighborhood safety and physical activity among public housing

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Prabasaj Paul, Susan A. Carlson and Janet E. Fulton

Background:

The association between walking and environmental attributes depends on walking purpose. This study, based on a large survey of U.S. adults, examined the association between perceived neighborhood safety and built environment attributes, and walking for transportation and leisure.

Methods:

Data were obtained on transportation and leisure-time walking, perceived neighborhood safety and built environment attributes, and demographic characteristics from the summer wave of the 2012 ConsumerStyles survey of 3951 U.S. adults. Associations were examined by demographic characteristics.

Results:

Seventy-five percent of respondents reported walking for either transportation (54%) or leisure (56%) in the past week, 59% reported no safety concern, and 36% reported absence of any built environment attribute of walkability nearby. Respondents with more education, and those who lived in metropolitan areas were more likely to report built environment attributes supportive of walking. All built environment attributes examined, as well as safety concern due to speeding vehicles, were associated with walking after adjustment for demographic characteristics.

Conclusion:

Walking, particularly for transportation, is associated with many built environment attributes among U.S. adults. These attributes may be important to consider when designing and modifying the built environment of communities, especially those which are less walkable.