In this large survey of teens in Minneapolis-St. Paul, three different statistical analyses point to convenient access to unhealthy foods and lack of safe space for outdoor recreation as neighborhood elements that lead to higher rates of adolescent obesity.
Neighborhood environments are complex and include many elements that could impact BMI. This survey of 2,682 Minneapolis-St. Paul middle and high school students uses three different statistical methods to try to tease out the obesogenic effects of neighborhood characteristics associated with food access, recreational physical activity, utilitarian physical activity, perceived safety, and neighborhood socio-demographics. Little prior research examines the relationship between neighborhood features and adolescent obesity.
This research underlines the challenges to untangling the relationships between obesity and the many potential factors in complex built environments. But all three statistical methods point to access to unhealthy foods and a lack of safe space for outdoor recreation as factors in adolescent obesity.