Neighborhood Context, Children's Leisure Activities and Childhood Obesity

Rachel E. Dwyer, Ohio State University
Liana C. Sayer, Ohio State University

Previous work demonstrates that childhood obesity rates are higher in disadvantaged neighborhoods than in privileged places. Other studies show that children who spend less time in active leisure like sports and more time in passive leisure like watching television have greater risks of obesity. This study examines whether the differences in the risks of obesity between neighborhoods are due in part to differences in children’s leisure time that emerge as families respond to the opportunities and constraints of their social setting. We use time diary and family data in the Panel Study of Income Dynamics Child Development Supplement linked to Census tract data on neighborhood characteristics. In multinomial regression analysis of children’s weight status, we find that the impact of neighborhood context does occur in part through differences in children’s leisure activities. Time use thus appears to be a key mechanism for the effect of neighborhood context on childhood obesity.

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Presented in Poster Session 5