The Effect of Neighborhood Geography on the Health of Low-Income Women
DeGuzman, Pamela Baker, Department of Nursing, University of Virginia
Merwin, Elizabeth, School of Nursing, University of Virginia
Purpose: The purpose of this correlational, cross-sectional study was to determine the effect of neighborhood built environment characteristics on the health of low-income women, and to determine if those neighborhood built environment characteristics influence health disparities between African American women and women from other racial or ethnic backgrounds. Methods: The main analysis used a secondary data set, geographic information systems and multilevel modeling to determine the effect of neighborhood built environment characteristics on the health of the women. The sample included women from low-income neighborhoods in three U.S. cities: Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; and San Antonio, TX. Four health outcomes were tested: overall health, mental health risk, disability and body mass index. Two walkability characteristics were calculated as the independent variable: residential density and distance to public transportation. Results: Walkability was not found to be associated with health outcomes in this sample of women from low-income neighborhoods in the three cities. No interactions were found between race and walkability, for any of the health outcomes. Neighborhood problems were found to be associated with overall health and mental health risk. Conclusion: This research suggests that, in low-income neighborhoods, health outcomes are not related to walkability for low-income women. Crime is a major component of the neighborhood problem index, which was associated with two health outcomes. Further research is needed to determine if altering perceptions of or actual crime is associated with increased physical activity among female residents of low-income neighborhoods, and if these changes produce improved health outcomes.
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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
health, low-income, women, environment, neighborhood
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