Presentation at the 2012 Active Living Research Annual Conference.
Residence in lower socioeconomic status (SES) neighborhoods has been associated with lower rates of physical activity, but few studies have investigated this relationship longitudinally. Some data suggest that access to high quality neighborhood physical activity resources (e.g., parks, trails, community centers, schools) may buffer some of the detrimental effects of low income neighborhoods, helping people to maintain physical activity over time.
This study investigated the relationship of SES and access to quality physical activity resources to physical activity among African American and Hispanic or Latino women over time.
Women reported increased total physical activity from T1 (M=2563.5, SD=3976.9) to T2 (M=3015.5, SD=2900.6, t(172)= -4.858, p=.000), along with physical activity done for work, (T1 M=877.0, SD=2547.0 to T2 M=1168.0, SD=2005.56, t(172)= -3.650, p=.000), transportation (T1, M=275.1, SD=1127.2 to T2 M=302.6, SD=609.2, t(172)= -4.028, p=.000), and leisure (T1 M=298.2, SD=599.9 to T2 M=724.5, SD=977.4), t(172)= -6.702, p =.000, and, walking (T1, M =794. 7, SD=2006.7 to T2 M =897.3, SD=1052.8), t(172)=-5.328, p =.000), moderate (T1, M=1293.5, SD=1744.1 to T2 M=1319.1, SD=1522.9, t(172)= -3.688, p =.000), and vigorous physical activity (T1, M=411.6, SD=1648.2 to T2 M=896.6, SD=1599.5, t(172)= -5.110, p =.000), but not home or garden related physical activity (T1, M=1049.4, SD=1508.8 to T2 M =918.0, SD=1371.3, p>.05). Women showed no significant change in MVPA from T1 (M=20.2, SD=21.7) to T2 (M=19.0, SD=17.7, p>.05). Neighborhood household income ranged from $13,421 to $119,260 (Med= $37,739 , M=$40,587, SD=$17,189). The number of physical activity resources per neighborhood ranged from 0-17 (M=3.79, SD=2.6). Pearson correlation coefficients showed physical activity resource features, amenities and incivilities were significantly associated (ps<.05), leading to the creation of the QPAR index. QPAR neighborhood scores ranged from -3 to 66 (Med=15, M=16.5, SD=9.7). After adjusting for individual SES, age, ethnicity, repeated measures analyses of variance demonstrated a significant interaction between time and QPAR (F(1,57)=8.108, p=.006). Regardless of neighborhood income, women who lived in neighborhoods with low QPARs demonstrated a decrease in MVPA from T1 (M=22.4, SD=26.7) to T2 (M=15.4, SD=15.8), while those with high QPARs demonstrated an increase in MVPA from T1 (M=18.1, SD=15.7) to T2 (M=22.3, SD=18.9). Neighborhood income and QPAR indices were not significantly associated with change in any of the self-reported IPAQ variables.
Despite a larger sample size and more power to detect effects, neighborhood factors were not related to changes in self-reported physical activity; however, access to quality physical activity resources significantly impacted objectively measured physical activity, regardless of neighborhood income. This calls into question the validity of self-reported physical activity and suggests that physical activities that are measured by self reports may not be related to neighborhood factors. Regardless, results suggest an independently beneficial effect of higher quality physical activity resources, after accounting for neighborhood SES, on objectively measured physical activity in ethnic minority women. Even for women residing in lower socioeconomic areas, having access to higher quality physical activity resources may help increase or maintain physical activity over time. Policy makers, planners and community activists should strive to increase and maintain high quality physical activity resources in all neighborhoods.