Do Neighborhood Perceptions Account for Racial Disparities in Obesity? Open Access

Dodell, Sylvie Mara (2014)

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Obesity prevalence has increased substantially in recent decades, and the rates of obesity are higher among minority groups. Examining the impact of neighborhood perceptions along with more objective neighborhood factors could be useful in proposing interventions to help address obesity among different groups. A secondary data analysis was conducted using cross-sectional data from the META-Health study, including 376 African American and white adults. The goal was to investigate the role of neighborhood perceptions in racial differences in BMI by examining the impact of individual-level neighborhood factors on the estimate for race in linear and logistic regression models accounting for confounders such as socioeconomic status, gender, and smoking status. The results suggest that neighborhood perceptions accounted for a small amount of the disparity in obesity between African American and White adults in Atlanta (0.24 units of BMI in the linear model and 5% of the disparity in the logistic model). Activities with neighbors and social cohesion accounted for the largest portion of the disparity when the neighborhood perception scales were examined individually.

Table of Contents

Background/Literature Review 1 Obesity Overview 1

Neighborhood Factors and the Built Environment 2

Neighborhood Perceptions 3

Obesity and Socioeconomic Status 5

Race and Obesity 5

Literature Summary and Overview of Analysis 6

Methods 8 Results 11 Discussion 13

Strengths and Weaknesses 15

Implications/Future Directions 16

References 18 Tables 21

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