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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2006 Mar;14(3):518-25.

Neighborhood safety, collective efficacy, and obesity in women with young children.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Division of Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 3535 Market Street, Room 1578, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. burdette@email.chop.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To test the hypothesis that mothers of young children would have a higher prevalence of obesity if they lived in neighborhoods that they perceived as unsafe or as having a low level of collective efficacy.

RESEARCH METHODS AND PROCEDURES:

Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a cross-sectional analysis was conducted of 2445 women living in 20 large (population > or = 200,000) U.S. cities. BMI was measured on 72% and self-reported on 28%. Perception of neighborhood safety was assessed with the Neighborhood Environment for Children Rating Scales. The collective efficacy measure was adapted from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods.

RESULTS:

Thirty percent of the women were married, 38% lived below the U.S. poverty threshold, and 66% reported no education beyond high school. Approximately one-half of the women were non-Hispanic black, and one-fourth were Hispanic (any race). After adjustment for sociodemographic factors (household income, education, race/ethnicity, age, and marital status), smoking, depression, and television time, the prevalence of obesity (BMI > or = 30 kg/m2) increased across tertiles of neighborhood safety from safest to least safe (37% vs. 41% vs. 46%, p = 0.004) but did not differ across tertiles of collective efficacy from highest to lowest (41% vs. 40% vs. 42%, p = 0.67).

DISCUSSION:

In a national sample of women with young children, obesity was more prevalent among those who perceived their neighborhoods to be unsafe.

PMID:
16648624
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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