Neighborhood Factors Tied to Adolescents' Activity Levels

Neighborhood relations, immigrant concentration, public nuisance related to activity levels

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The characteristics of an adolescent's neighborhood and his or her perception of it can affect the tendency to engage in active or sedentary behaviors, according to a study in the October issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Jinseok Kim, Ph.D., of Seoul Women's University in South Korea, and colleagues analyzed data on 13,668 adolescents from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in the United States. The data included information on perceived neighborhood conditions, such as public nuisances, acquaintanceship, and "shared expectation for the supervision and protection of local youths" (informal control), as well as on structural neighborhood characteristics, such as concentrations of poverty and immigrant populations. The researchers correlated the data with failure to meet moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) guidelines and excessive screen time.

The researchers found individuals perceiving intermediate or high levels of acquaintanceship and a high level of informal control less likely not to meet MVPA guidelines compared to those perceiving low levels. In census tract analysis, high informal control and intermediate and high concentrated poverty were associated with failing to meet the MVPA guidelines compared with lower levels. Also, in census tract analysis, high public nuisance and immigrant concentration were associated with excessive screen time compared with the lowest levels.

"These findings suggest that both perceptual and structural neighborhood factors should be considered to understand adolescents' physical activity and sedentary behaviors," the authors write.

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