The Effect of Perceived and Structural Neighborhood Conditions on Adolescents' Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviors

J Kim, J Liu, N Colabianchi and R. R. Pate

Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 2010, 164(10), 935-942. DOI: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2010.167


Objective  To test whether physical activity and sedentary behaviors are associated with perceived and structural neighborhood conditions.

Design  Secondary analysis of data from wave I (1994-1995) of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in the United States.

Setting  In-home interviews of adolescents and their parents.

Participants  Thirteen thousand six hundred sixty-eight adolescents (6794 adolescent boys and 6874 adolescent girls; grades 7-12).

Main Exposures  Perceived neighborhood conditions (public nuisance, acquaintanceship, and informal control measured at both individual and census tract levels) and structural neighborhood characteristics (concentrated poverty, immigrant concentration, and residential stability at the census tract level).

Outcome Measures  Failure to meet moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) guidelines (<5 bouts of MVPA per week) and excessive screen time (>2 hours per day).

Results  Individual-level perception of intermediate (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 0.76; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.68-0.84) or high (OR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.50-0.61) acquaintanceship and high informal control (OR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.82-0.99) in the neighborhood were negatively associated with failure to meet the MVPA guidelines compared with lower levels. At the census tract level, high informal control (OR, 1.16; 95% CI, 1.04-1.29) and intermediate (OR, 1.13; 95% CI, 1.01-1.26) and high (OR, 1.22; 95% CI, 1.06-1.40) concentrated poverty compared with lower levels were also associated with failing to meet the MVPA guidelines (when adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics). Compared with the lowest levels, high public nuisance (OR, 1.19; 95% CI, 1.04-1.36) and immigrant concentration (OR, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.01-1.38) at the census tract level were associated with excessive screen time.

Conclusion  These findings suggest that both perceptual and structural neighborhood factors should be considered to understand adolescents' physical activity and sedentary behaviors.

ASCI-ID: 1282-192