Residents of better neighbourhoods tend to engage in physical activity more than the people of the disadvantaged areas. Consequently the better-off suffer less from lifestyle diseases. says a new study.
Researchers led by Gavin Turrell of the School of Public Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland set out to examine the association between neighborhood disadvantage and physical activity (PA).
They used data from the HABITAT multilevel longitudinal study of PA among middle-aged (40-65 years) men and women living in 200 neighborhoods in Brisbane, Australia. PA was measured using three questions from the Active Australia Survey (general walking, moderate, and vigorous activity), one indicator of total activity, and two questions about walking and cycling for transport.
After adjustment for sex, age, living arrangement, education, occupation, and household income, reported participation in all measures and levels of PA varied significantly across Brisbane's neighborhoods, and neighborhood disadvantage accounted for some of this variation. Residents of advantaged neighborhoods reported significantly higher levels of total activity, general walking, moderate, and vigorous activity; however, they were less likely to walk for transport. There was no statistically significant association between neighborhood disadvantage and cycling for transport. In terms of total PA, residents of advantaged neighborhoods were more likely to exceed PA recommendations.
And so the researchers concluded -
Neighborhoods may exert a contextual effect on the likelihood of residents participating in PA. The greater propensity of residents in advantaged neighborhoods to do high levels of total PA may contribute to lower rates of cardiovascular disease and obesity in these areas.
The findings have been published in the Annals of Epidemiology.