Impact of Perceptions of Neighborhood Walkability and Perceptions of Behavioral Control over Exercise on Obesity in a Diverse Population

Shira Schwartz, NYU Langone Medical Center
Bruce Link, Columbia University
Andrew Rundle, Columbia University
Gina Lovasi, Columbia University

Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between body mass index (BMI) and perceptions of neighborhood walkability and perceptions of control over exercise. Methods: Participants completed a telephone interview, a written questionnaire and a home visit to assess various aspects of health and social behaviors. Statistical analyses were performed using linear regression to model BMI, adjusting for potential confounders and stratifying by race. Results: There was a significant association between higher perceived neighborhood walkability, specifically neighborhood aesthetics and safety, and lower BMI. Higher perceived behavioral control over exercise was also associated with lower BMI. Perceived aesthetics and safety were more strongly linked to BMI among participants who reported low behavioral control over exercise. No significant effect modification by race was observed. Conclusions: Individual’s perceptions of neighborhood walkability and perceptions of their ability to exercise, regardless of race, may be useful targets for interventions to reduce obesity.

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Presented in Poster Session 7