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PLoS One. 2018 Oct 31;13(10):e0206408. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0206408. eCollection 2018.

Associations of perceived neighbourhood safety from traffic and crime with overweight/obesity among South African adults of low-socioeconomic status.

Author information

1
Faculty of Community and Health Sciences School of Public Health, University of Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa.
2
Non-communicable Diseases Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa.
3
Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Department of Human Biology Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The relationship between perceived neighbourhood safety from traffic and crime with overweight/obesity can provide intervention modalities for obesity, yet no relevant study has been conducted in sub-Saharan African contexts. We investigated the association between perceived neighbourhood safety from traffic and crime with overweight/obesity among urban South African adults.

METHODS:

This cross-sectional study included 354 adults aged ≥35 years drawn from the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) cohort study. The Neighborhood Walkability Scale-Africa (NEWS-A) was used to evaluate the perceived neighbourhood safety. Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated to examine the associations between perceived neighborhood safety and overweight/obesity defined "normal weight" and "overweight/obese" using the 25 Kg/m2 cutoff criterion.

RESULTS:

In the overall sample, adults who agreed that "the speed of traffic on most nearby roads in their neighborhood was usually slow" were less likely to be overweight/obese (adjusted OR = 0.42; 95%CI 0.23-0.76). Those who agreed that "there was too much crime in their neighborhood to go outside for walks or play during the day" were more likely to be overweight/obese (OR = 2.41; 1.09-5.29). These associations were driven by significant associations in women, and no association in men, with significant statistical interactions.

CONCLUSION:

Perceived neighborhood safety from traffic and crime was associated with overweight/obesity among South African adults. Our findings provide preliminary evidence on the need to secure safer environments for walkability. Future work should also consider perceptions of the neighbourhood related to food choice.

PMID:
30379921
PMCID:
PMC6209311
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0206408
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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