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Int J Obes (Lond). 2005 Feb;29(2):170-5.

Perceptions of local neighbourhood environments and their relationship to childhood overweight and obesity.

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  • 1Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia.



To examine associations between parent and child perceptions of the local neighbourhood and overweight/obesity among children aged 5-6 and 10-12 y.


Cross-sectional survey.


In total, 291 families of 5-6-y-old and 919 families of 10-12-y-old children.


Parent's perceptions of local neighbourhood and perceived child access to eight local destinations within walking distance of home; 10-12-y-old children's perception of local neighbourhood; socio-demographic characteristics (survey). Children's height and weight (measured).


No perceptions of the local neighbourhood were associated with weight status among 5-6-y-old children. Among 10-12-y-old children, those whose parents agreed that there was heavy traffic in their local streets were more likely to be overweight or obese (OR=1.4, 95% CI=1.0-1.8), and those whose parents agreed that road safety was a concern were more likely to be obese (OR=3.9, 95% CI=1.0-15.2), compared to those whose parents disagreed with these statements.


This study suggests that parental perceptions of heavy traffic on local streets and concern about road safety may be indirect influences on overweight and obesity among 10-12-y-old children. Future work should also consider perceptions of the neighbourhood related to food choice.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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