Neighbourhood Built and Social Environments and Individual Physical Activity and Body Mass Index: A Multi-method Assessment

Neighbourhood Built and Social Environments and Individual Physical Activity and Body Mass Index: A Multi-method Assessment

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Title: Neighbourhood Built and Social Environments and Individual Physical Activity and Body Mass Index: A Multi-method Assessment
Author: Prince, Stephanie
Abstract: Background: Obesity and physical inactivity rates have reached epidemic levels in Canada, but differ based on whether they are self-reported or directly measured. Canadian research examining the combined and independent effects of social and built environments on adult physical activity (PA) and body mass index (BMI) is limited. Furthermore there is a lack of Canadian studies to assess these relationships using directly measured PA and BMI. Objectives: The objectives of this thesis were to systematically compare self-reported and directly measured PA and to examine associations between neighbourhood built and social environmental factors with both self-reported and directly measured PA and overweight/obesity in adults living in Ottawa, Canada. Methods: A systematic review was conducted to identify observational and experimental studies of adult populations that used both self-report and direct measures of PA and to assess the agreement between the measures. Associations between objectively measured neighbourhood-level built recreation and social environmental factors and self-reported individual-level data including total and leisure-time PA (LTPA) and overweight/obesity were examined in the adult population of Ottawa, Canada using multilevel models. Neighbourhood differences in directly measured BMI and PA (using accelerometry) were evaluated in a convenience sample of adults from four City of Ottawa neighbourhoods with contrasting socioeconomic (SES) and built recreation (REC) environments. Results: Results from the review generally indicate a poor level of agreement between self-report and direct measures of PA, with trends differing based on the measures of PA, the level of PA examined and the sex of the participants. Results of the multilevel analyses identified that very few of the built and social environmental variables were ii significantly associated with PA or overweight/obesity. Greater park area was significantly associated with total PA in females. Greater green space was shown to be associated with lower odds of male LTPA. Factors from the social environment were generally more strongly related to male outcomes. Further to the recreation and social environment, factors in the food landscape were significantly associated with male and female PA and overweight/obesity. Results of the directly measured PA and BMI investigation showed significant neighbourhood-group effects for light intensity PA and sedentary time. Post-hoc tests identified that the low REC/high SES neighbourhood had significantly more minutes of light PA than the low REC/low SES. BMI differed between the four neighbourhoods, but the differences were not significant after controlling for age, sex and household income. Conclusions: Results of this dissertation show that the quantity of PA can differ based on its method of measurement (i.e. between self-report and direct methods) with implications for the interpretation of study findings. It also identifies that PA and BMI can differ by neighbourhood and recognizes that the relationships between neighbourhood environments and PA and body composition are complex, may be differ between males and females, and may not always follow intuitive relationships. Furthermore it suggests that other factors in the environment not examined in this dissertation may influence adult PA and BMI and that longitudinal and intervention studies are needed.
Date: 2012
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/22651
Supervisor: Prud'Homme, Denis
Tremblay, Mark
Faculty: Études supérieures / Graduate Studies
Degree: PhD

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