Since women living in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods are more likely to be physically inactive and engage in higher levels of sedentary behavior than women living in more advantaged neighborhoods, it is important to develop and test the feasibility of strategies aimed to promote physical activity and reduce sedentary behavior amongst this high-risk target group. Thirty-seven women (aged 19-85) living in a disadvantaged neighborhood, and five key stakeholders, received a suite of potential intervention materials and completed a qualitative questionnaire assessing the perceived feasibility of strategies aimed to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary behavior. Thematic analyses were performed. Women perceived the use of a locally-relevant information booklet as a feasible strategy to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary behavior. Including weight-loss information was suggested to motivate women to be active. Half the women felt the best delivery method was mailed leaflets. Other suggestions included reference books and websites. Many women mentioned that an online activity calendar was motivational but too time-consuming to commit to. Most women preferred the information booklet as a strategy to increase physical activity/reduce sedentary behavior, yet several suggested that using the booklet together with the online calendar may be more effective. These findings make an important contribution to research informing the development of intervention strategies to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary behavior amongst women living in disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Studies suggest that where people live, play, and work can influence health and well-being. However, the dearth of neighborhood data, especially data that is timely and consistent across geographies, hinders understanding of the effects of neighborhoods on health. Social media data represents a possible new data resource for neighborhood research.
Violence remains a significant public health issue in the United States. To determine if urban vacant properties were associated with an increased risk of assaultive violence and if this association was modified by important neighborhood institutions (e.g., schools, parks/playgrounds, police stations, and alcohol outlets).
Theory suggests that plant interactions at the neighbourhood scale play a fundamental role in regulating biodiversity-productivity relationships (BPRs) in tree communities. However, empirical evidence of this prediction is rare, as little is known about how neighbourhood interactions scale up to influence community BPRs. Here, using a biodiversity-ecosystem functioning experiment, we provide insights into processes underlying BPRs by demonstrating that diversity-mediated interactions among local neighbours are a strong regulator of productivity in species mixtures. Our results show that local neighbourhood interactions explain over half of the variation in observed community productivity along a diversity gradient. Overall, individual tree growth increased with neighbourhood species richness, leading to a positive BPR at the community scale. The importance of local-scale neighbourhood effects for regulating community productivity, however, distinctly increased with increasing community species richness. Preserving tree species diversity at the local neighbourhood scale, thus seems to be a promising way for promoting forest productivity.
Strong evidence supports that living in disadvantaged neighborhoods has direct unfavorable impact on mental and physical health. However, whether it also has direct impact on cellular health is largely unknown. Thus we examined whether neighborhood quality was associated with leukocyte telomere length, an indicator of cellular aging.
Alcohol overuse and poverty, each associated with premature death, often exist within disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Cheque cashing places (CCPs) may be opportunistically placed in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, where customers abound. We explored whether neighbourhood density of CCPs and alcohol outlets are each related to premature mortality among adults.
Mitigating Stress and Supporting Health in Deprived Urban Communities: The Importance of Green Space and the Social Environment
- International journal of environmental research and public health
- Published over 4 years ago
Environment-health research has shown significant relationships between the quantity of green space in deprived urban neighbourhoods and people’s stress levels. The focus of this paper is the nature of access to green space (i.e., its quantity or use) necessary before any health benefit is found. It draws on a cross-sectional survey of 406 adults in four communities of high urban deprivation in Scotland, United Kingdom. Self-reported measures of stress and general health were primary outcomes; physical activity and social wellbeing were also measured. A comprehensive, objective measure of green space quantity around each participant’s home was also used, alongside self-report measures of use of local green space. Correlated Component Regression identified the optimal predictors for primary outcome variables in the different communities surveyed. Social isolation and place belonging were the strongest predictors of stress in three out of four communities sampled, and of poor general health in the fourth, least healthy, community. The amount of green space in the neighbourhood, and in particular access to a garden or allotment, were significant predictors of stress. Physical activity, frequency of visits to green space in winter months, and views from the home were predictors of general health. The findings have implications for public health and for planning of green infrastructure, gardens and public open space in urban environments.
Whether patterns of physical activity in different communities can be attributed to the built environment or instead reflect self-selection is not well understood. The objective of this study was to examine neighborhood preferences and behavior-specific physical activity among residents who moved to a new urbanist-designed community.
- International journal of environmental research and public health
- Published over 3 years ago
Neighborhood design affects lifestyle physical activity, and ultimately human wellbeing. There are, however, a limited number of studies that examine neighborhood design types. In this research, we examine four types of neighborhood designs: traditional development, suburban development, enclosed community, and cluster housing development, and assess their level of walkability and their effects on physical activity and wellbeing. We examine significant associations through a questionnaire (n = 486) distributed in Tucson, Arizona using the Walkability Model. Among the tested neighborhood design types, traditional development showed significant associations and the highest value for walkability, as well as for each of the two types of walking (recreation and transportation) representing physical activity. Suburban development showed significant associations and the highest mean values for mental health and wellbeing. Cluster housing showed significant associations and the highest mean value for social interactions with neighbors and for perceived safety from crime. Enclosed community did not obtain the highest means for any wellbeing benefit. The Walkability Model proved useful in identifying the walkability categories associated with physical activity and perceived crime. For example, the experience category was strongly and inversely associated with perceived crime. This study provides empirical evidence of the importance of including vegetation, particularly trees, throughout neighborhoods in order to increase physical activity and wellbeing. Likewise, the results suggest that regular maintenance is an important strategy to improve mental health and overall wellbeing in cities.
Altruistic behaviour varies across human populations and this variation is likely to be partly explained by variation in the ecological context of the populations. We hypothesise that area level socio-economic characteristics will determine the levels of altruism found in individuals living in an area and we use a lost letter experiment to measure altruism across 20 neighbourhoods with a wide range of income deprivation scores in London, UK. The results show a strong negative effect of neighbourhood income deprivation on altruistic behaviour, with letters dropped in the poorest neighbourhoods having 91% lower odds of being returned than letters dropped in the wealthiest neighbourhoods. We suggest that measures of altruism are strongly context dependant.