Abstract P081: Neighborhood Social Environments and Incident Obesity: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)
Introduction: The public health burden of obesity in the United States is well documented and obesogenic environments, including the neighborhoods in which individuals live, have emerged as important determinants of obesity risk. Studies examining the association between neighborhood context and obesity have primarily focused on the socioeconomic and built/physical environment and have been mostly cross-sectional.
Objective: To investigate associations between neighborhood social environment and incident obesity and to determine if these associations are modified by gender.
Methods: Study participants were enrolled in MESA from 2000-2002 and followed for an average of 9.5 years. Obesity was defined as body mass index of ≥30 kg/m2 using weight and height measurement obtained at baseline and 4 follow-up examinations. Neighborhood social environment was assessed using a survey of area residents and MESA participants that asked them to rate their neighborhood (1-mile area surrounding the home) across dimensions of safety, social cohesion, and aesthetic quality. Cox proportional hazards models, with a robust covariance matrix estimator to adjust for clustering within neighborhoods, were used to test study hypotheses.
Results: Among the 3965 participants free from obesity at baseline and with complete data on study covariates, the mean age was 62 (SD=10) and 508 participants developed obesity over the study follow-up. In multivariable models, there were significant associations between neighborhood social environment indicators (Table 1) and incident obesity among men, independent of individual and neighborhood-level confounders (age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, income, neighborhood socioeconomic factors, and neighborhood physical environment). No associations were present among women.
Conclusion: Neighborhood-level risk factors are complex and future research is necessary to better understand the increased risk of obesity among men living in better neighborhood social environments.
Author Disclosures: M. Mujahid: None. A. Auchincloss: None. E. Elboudwarej: None. M. Carnethon: None. T. Barrientos-Gutierrez: None. T. Powell-Wiley: None. A. Diez Roux: None.
- © 2015 by American Heart Association, Inc.