ASSOCIATION OF NEIGHBORHOOD ENVIRONMENT WITH CHILDREN’S LIFESTYLE BEHAVIORS -- THE EFFECT ON HEALTH

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2014-03

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Akinbola, Ebunoluwa E.
Allen, Ryan
Shi, Xiangrong

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Abstract

Purpose (a): The purpose of this study was to investigate neighborhood factors on children's physical activity and dietary habits and to test the hypothesis that lifestyle behaviors would be more critical than neighborhood environment in determining children's health status. Methods (b): We analyzed 2,930 school children whose parents participated in Community-wide Children's Health Assessment & Planning Survey in 6 north-Texas counties. Neighborhood factors focused on "are there grocery stores in your neighborhood that have fresh fruit and vegetables" and "are there safe parks/outdoor areas for the child to play in your neighborhood". Body mass index percentile (BMI-PCT) was determined to categorize normal weight (BMI-PCTthis child typically eats healthy meals". The chi-square test was applied, and the logistic regression model was used to predict children's health status and BMI-PCT. Results (c): If there were no "grocery-stores" in the neighborhood, the proportions of children who took unhealthy meals increased from 19.8% to 29.3% (P =0.042) and who were overweight-obese increased from 30.4% to 44.0% (P =0.017). If there were no "safe parks/outdoor areas" in the neighborhood, physically active children decreased from 77.0% to 69.9% (Pgrocery-stores"(P =0.020) and healthy dietary choice (P =0.032). Their health status was associated with healthy dietary choices (P <0.0001), PA levels (P <0.0001), and "safe parks/outdoor areas" (P <0.0001) and negatively correlated with BMI-PCT (P =0.007). Conclusions (d): Neighborhood factors significantly influence children's PA levels, dietary choices, overweight-obese rate and health status. However, healthy lifestyles are more important than environmental factors for children's health status. Physical activity is the number 1 determinant for children's weight problem.

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