Neighborhood influences on diet and physical activity

by Kirby, Elizabeth Granville.

Abstract (Summary)
Objective: To examine associations between neighborhood characteristics and diet and physical activity in those of differing socio-economic status. Design: A cross-sectional study was conducted among US adults living in a small Southeast community, including individuals at lower income levels. Physical activity was self-reported and objectively measured with a pedometer. Diet, self-efficacy, and perception of neighborhood friendliness were self-reported. Main outcome measures: Minutes of physical activity, self-efficacy towards physical activity, where residents exercised, and perception of neighborhood friendliness towards physical activity. Statistical Analysis Performed: Associations between where participants exercise and their minutes of daily exercise were analyzed by independent t-tests (p < 0.05). Income level and minutes of daily activity were analyzed with t-tests and later with UNIANOVA, controlling for age. Income and where participants exercise was analyzed using Chi square. Distance to the park and minutes of daily activity was analyzed with Pearson’s correlation (two-sided, p < 0.05). Results: Income was not associated with daily minutes of physical activity or where a person chose to be active. Age was the biggest predictor of physical activity. Living on a street with a hill was positively correlated with self-efficacy for physical activity but negatively correlated with perception of neighborhood friendliness towards physical activity. Conclusion: Both high and low SES residents, within the same neighborhood, having access to the same recreational opportunities, did not differ in levels of physical activity. Both income groups met the current recommendations for physical activity suggesting access to parks with walking/biking trails, as well as other facilities, increases actual energy expenditure, independent of SES. Applications: Health officials and urban planners could work together in creating more recreational opportunities, especially in low SES neighborhoods, to increase national levels of physical activity. Attribution My time at Virginia Tech has been a rewarding and successful one, thanks to Dr. Kathy Hosig, my advisor and confidant, who has encouraged and challenged me at every turn. She and the other faculty members, Dr. Sharon Nickols-Richardson, Dr. William Herbert, and Dr. Eileen Anderson have been invaluable throughout my writing process. Dr. Kathy Hosig received her B.S. in Human Nutrition, and Foods/Dietetics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She received a M.P.H. in Public Health Leadership from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and her Ph.D. in Foods and Nutrition from Purdue University. Her time and effort put forth into this project, as well as her direction, is incalculable. Dr. Sharon Nickols-Richardson received a B.S. in Foods, Nutrition, and Institutional Administration from Oklahoma State University and her Ph.D. in Food and Nutrition from the University of Georgia. She contributed a great amount of her time and was vital for the body composition data collection phase of my project. Dr. William Herbert received his B.S. and Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology from Kent State University. He was very helpful in the analysis of my data and in helping me explore new avenues during the interpretation of my data. Dr. Eileen Anderson contributed her time and expertise into the statistical methods and data analysis of my project. She received her B.A. in Psychology at the University of Virginia, her M.Ed. from James Madison University, and her Ed.D. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. iii Abstract Attribution
Bibliographical Information:


School:Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

School Location:USA - Virginia

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:

© 2009 All Rights Reserved.